Conflict Series Part One: What is Conflict and How Can we Find It?

Hello! (Happy Thanksgiving to all my Canadian readers!)

Today I’m going to be teaching you what conflict is, and how we can find it. This is part one of a (small, yes) two-part series where I’m going to cover: what conflict is, how can we find it, and how to use it.

The first question, though, is why would we need conflict in our books? It’s just a weird sounding word when you could easily use something like ‘disagreement’ or ‘fight’. Well, conflict is what makes your book interesting. It’s one of the reasons readers will keep reading on the edge of their seats with excitement.

So, let’s get started!Screen Shot 2019-02-10 at 2.39.03 PM


1. What is Conflict?

Most of the time, people see conflict as two armies fighting a huge war with each other. In short, they think of it as a huge fight. But in reality, conflict is a problem. (Yes, I know war is a problem, but don’t think of it that way.) It could be called an obstacle, but that might make things confusing right now, so I would stick with problem until I explain it more thoroughly in part two.

Conflict is a problem that stops your protagonist from getting what he Wants

2. How Can we Find Conflict in Our Stories?

It’s really simple, actually. Remember how I said that conflict is all about not giving your characters what they want? This is how we’re going to find it. They wanted a cookie? WELL TOO BAD! You ran out five seconds ago when your little brother heard you wanted one, and raced to beat you. And, of course, won.

To make this relatively simple, I thought of two ways for how to find your conflict: 

  1. You can find conflict with your antagonist (your ‘villain’). I’ll go more into detail about this in a later post. 
  2. You can take a simple idea from your book and think about it for a second. Ask yourself how you can make sure your character doesn’t get what he wants in this situation. (Like the cookie example from above.)


Although conflict is about not giving your characters what they want, you can’t just have random arguments about random things, if it’s not related to the plot. If you’re trying to save the world, a huge fight about a cookie is…completely and utterly pointless. If the fight about the cookie is because it’s the last cookie in the world and that’s why you need to save the world in the first place…then yeah, the fight over the cookie would be pretty big to contribute towards your plot.Screen Shot 2019-02-10 at 2.39.03 PM

Conflict can get very interesting in books. Think of one of your favorite books. Do the characters squabble with each other? Is it about something wrong they’ve done? Try to identify conflict when you read, that way you’ll be able to understand it better when you write. 

Watch for next week when I explain to you how to use conflict in your writing.


I hope you enjoyed this post! If you have any questions or thoughts, leave a comment down below.

Thanks for reading!





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Conflict Series Part 1

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