All stories will have a character conflict – it is this conflict that should drive the story. Without the conflict, crisis or forces of antagonism … there would be nothing to engage the audience. ALL STORIES SHOULD HAVE A COMPELLING CONFLICT! Here are examples:
- Character vs. Character – Example: The Dark Knight
- Character vs. Nature (characters may face storms, earthquakes, tornados, natural disasters, etc.) Example: Into the Wild
- Character vs. Self (internal battles & struggles with one’s feelings, desires, physical or mental limitations, etc.) Example: Falling Down
- Character vs. Society (battles with culture, education, politics, race) Example: Hunger Games
- Character vs. The Unknown or Character vs. Supernatural (any unknown future, enemy, situation, feelings, etc.) Example: Ghostbusters
- Character vs. God/Religion (battles and struggles with one’s understanding and/or relationship to religion, God and/or figures representing religion) Example: Evan Almighty
- Character vs. Machine (or technology) – (when humans battle the power of technology and that results in a machine taking on or taking over for man). Example: Ex Machina
**While other conflict categories exist, these are the most prevalent.
This video will highlight five of the seven conflicts listed above:
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Boggs, J. M., & Jackson, K. (2008). The art of watching films: A guide to film analysis. Menlo Park, CA: Benjamin/Cummings Pub.7th edition
Docimo, K. (n.d.). Literary Conflict Lesson plan | Conflict in Literature | Man vs Man. Retrieved from http://www.storyboardthat.com/articles/e/types-of-literary-conflict
Kane, M. (2013, November 20). Conflict in Literature. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rM5cp_YL77k
Manning Notes – film, and story: “Film Criticism: Gardner-Webb University” (2020).
Donald Miller, “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years” (2009).
Donald Miller, “Into the Elements” DVD (2012)
Robert McKee, “Story” (2006)
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Blake Snyder, “Save the Cat” (2005)
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