Photo credit: Helen Warner
I nearly had an anxiety attack when I signed into my Gotham Writer’s Workshop class today and realized that I have been assigned to post my work NEXT WEEK! At GWW, you turn in two longer pieces for critique, so it’s kind of like having to take your mid-term after just one lesson. I basically have two options at this point, continue with the piece that I started in the first class or start something new. The problem with my old piece is that I still haven’t really worked out the conflict, yet. So, all afternoon I have been conflicted over conflict, er.
“There is no reason why good cannot triumph as often as evil. The triumph of anything is a matter of organization. If there are such things as angels, I hope that they are organized along the lines of the Mafia.” - Kurt Vonnegut, The Sirens of Titans
Sometimes getting back to the basics eases my need to breathe into a brown paper bag. Approximately 2 seconds of Internet research triggers memories from Freshman English Class…there are two types of conflict: Internal and External. I think that most good stories have both.
According to Aristotle, in order to hold the interest, the hero must have a single conflict; let’s take a look at some options…
Seven Basic Conflicts (via wikipedia)
- Man v. Man - A conflict arising between two or more characters of the same kind.
- Man v. Nature - A character pitted against one or more forces of nature. It is also commonly found in stories about survival in remote locales.
- Man v. Machine - A conflict between a character and an artificial entity such as a computer, robot, or android. The emphasis is on contrasting the character as a natural organism with a synthetic creature.
- Man v. Self- An internal conflict involving a character wrestling with conflicting emotions, thoughts, or desires.
- Man v. Supernatural - A character at odds with elements outside of the natural realm. These include encounters with ghosts, extraterrestrials, and other speculative or theoretical phenomena.
- Man v. Society - A conflict between bad and good.
- Man v. Destiny - A character attempting to break free from a future path chosen without his or her consent.
Do you have a favorite type of narrative conflict to write/read about?
Does blog writing count as procrastinating? hmmmm…..