Story elements Storytelling guide

Story elements decoded: the blueprint of engaging conflict

I’ve previously touched on the significance of story elements, the building blocks that shape our narrative. Among them, conflict stands as a pillar, holding the plot aloft. This post aims to dissect the essence of conflict in storytelling across various mediums, illuminating its role in driving narrative engagement and resonance.

1. Understanding Conflict

Conflict is the engine of the narrative, introducing hurdles and disputes that characters must navigate. It catalyzes action, propelling characters into a cascade of events and decisions, thereby enriching character development and narrative texture.

2. Core Elements of Engaging Conflict

  • Character Motivations: Conflict often arises from clashing desires or goals. For instance, in “The Lord of the Rings,” Frodo’s quest to destroy the ring clashes with Sauron’s intent to reclaim it.
  • Stakes: High stakes heighten tension. In the film “Titanic,” the stakes are life and death, as characters struggle to survive the sinking ship.
  • Obstacles: These are the hurdles characters face. Harry Potter’s journey is littered with obstacles, from Voldemort’s attempts on his life to the mysteries he must unravel.

3. The Spectrum of Conflict

Conflict varies in nature — internal, external, or interpersonal. For example, in the song “I Will Always Love You,” the conflict is internal, reflecting emotional turmoil.

Different genres often emphasize various conflict types, like thrillers emphasizing external conflicts while dramas might focus on internal or interpersonal conflicts.

4. Crafting Conflict: A Dynamic Approach

To craft resonating conflict, understand your characters’ desires and fears, then build obstacles that challenge them. Ensure your conflict evolves, reflecting the changing dynamics and growth of your characters, like in the evolving friendship and conflicts between Woody and Buzz in “Toy Story.”

4.1. Examples of Conflict Mastery

Analyzing the layered conflict in “Game of Thrones” shows how intertwined personal and political struggles drive the narrative. Writers can learn from such examples to weave complex yet compelling conflicts in their tales.

4.2. Conflict Resolution: Completing the Arc

Resolving conflict in a satisfying manner, like the redemption of Scrooge in “A Christmas Carol,” leaves a lasting impact. Ensure the resolution aligns with the narrative’s themes and characters’ arcs for a cohesive storytelling experience.

4.3. Common Pitfalls in Crafting Conflict

Avoid forced conflict that feels unnatural or irrelevant to the plot. It’s crucial to maintain a balance, ensuring your conflict drives the narrative forward without overshadowing other crucial story elements.


Understanding and effectively employing conflict is crucial in crafting engaging narratives.

Harness the insights shared in this post, and don’t forget to explore further with my previous post on story elements. Your narrative masterpiece awaits the infusion of conflict that’ll make it resonate with audiences.