Analyzing Your Story: Seven Degrees of Conflict

Every story needs conflict. It’s what drives the plot along and keeps the protagonist on their toes, and the higher the stakes, the more readers will be invested in finding out what happens in the end.

In nearly every story, the conflict itself is represented by a character who embodies most, if not all, the things the protagonist is fighting against. This character is the antagonist.

Knowing what your antagonist represents can help you craft your story. So here are the big seven types of conflict that are found in fiction:

  • Man vs Animal
  • Man vs Self
  • Man vs Setting
  • Man vs Society
  • Man vs Supernatural
  • Man vs Technology
  • Man vs Weather

When analyzing your story, bear in mind that conflicts often do not fit cleanly into a single category. Man vs Self, for example, is found in nearly every story, usually embodied by the protagonist as they struggle against fitting into whatever role a story is trying to shape them into.

What conflicts are in your latest story? Can you pick out the antagonist that represents them, and how they do? The comments are always open.

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