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Tell me more about conflict…



D. Conflict in Plot

Plot usually involves one or more conflicts, which are problems that need to be solved. The “movement” towards a solution is what drives the narrative forward, and is what occupies most of the protagonist’s time. The more rewarding plots are often built around mental, emotional and moral conflicts. Plots involving physical conflict, war, exploration, escapes often contain the most excitement and suspense. The basic distinction is between internal and external conflict. Here are the major types of conflict:

1. person vs. the environment
2. person vs. person (including person vs. society)
3. person vs. fate
4. person vs. self (i.e. a portrayal of an inner struggle)
The first three types are said to be “external conflicts”, while the last is “internal conflict”.
Identifying Conflict:

Who or what is the protagonist?
Who or what is the antagonist?
Why is this person or thing the antagonist?
Why are the antagonist and the protagonist in conflict?
Which events contribute to the developing conflict?
Which event or episode is the climax?
What does the outcome of the conflict reveal to you about the protagonist?
Did you feel sympathetic toward the protagonist or the antagonist? Explain why.


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