5 Tips for Screenwriters to Create Conflict
December 15th, 2023
Creating conflict is a crucial element in storytelling as it keeps readers engaged and invested in the narrative. Here are five ways writers can introduce and escalate conflict in their stories:
- Internal Conflict: Explore the internal struggles and dilemmas within a character. This could involve moral decisions, unresolved issues from the past, or conflicting emotions.
- Interpersonal Conflict: Develop conflicts between characters. This can range from misunderstandings and differences in values to personal grudges and clashes of personality.
- External Challenges: Introduce obstacles that hinder the protagonist's progress toward their goals. This could include external forces such as antagonistic characters, environmental challenges, or societal restrictions.
- Personal Sacrifice: Force characters to make sacrifices or difficult choices in pursuit of their goals. This adds complexity and tension to the storyline.
- Urgency and Deadlines: Create time-sensitive situations that put pressure on characters to act quickly. A ticking clock adds tension and raises the stakes, making the conflict more compelling.
- Race Against Time: Set up scenarios where characters must accomplish their objectives before a looming threat or impending disaster occurs.
- Ethical Challenges: Present characters with situations where they must choose between right and wrong. This can lead to internal conflicts, as characters grapple with the consequences of their choices.
- Gray Areas: Explore morally ambiguous situations where there is no clear right or wrong, forcing characters to navigate through shades of gray.
- Plot Surprises: Incorporate unexpected plot twists that catch both characters and readers off guard. These surprises can introduce new conflicts or turn existing ones in unforeseen directions.
- Revelations: Uncover hidden truths, secrets, or betrayals that disrupt the status quo and create tension among characters.
Remember that effective conflict should be organic to the story, arising from the characters' motivations, the world they inhabit, and the goals they pursue. Balancing various types of conflict can contribute to a dynamic and engaging narrative.