The Three Types Of Conflict

Posted on December 15, 2012

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Conflict is a vital component of drama. All stories basically illustrate the human struggle against various obstacles to ultimately succeed.

There are three key levels of conflict that make stories more satisfying. Try using at least two of them, especially for your main character. All conflict types operate on a sliding scale. If you exclusively use one, your characters will become flat and your audience disengaged.

1) EXTERNAL CONFLICT

This is really the physical action that occurs on screen. It’s the shoot outs, car chases, thrills and spills that entertain audiences. External conflict must weigh more heavily in action based movies and slapstick comedy because that’s what their core audience seek. Such overt external conflict must feature less heavily in drama.

2) INTERNAL CONFLICT

This relates to the internal chaos and growth of your characters. It ultimately relates to the theme of your story and the inner demons of the main character. This is probably the most important type of conflict because it relates to what the character must learn.

3) INTERACTIONAL CONFLICT

This relates to how the main character interacts with other characters or their surroundings. How do they react when the main character and the villain both want the same thing? Anger, violence, argument or silence?

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