What Do Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Stories Allow Readers To Do Conflict Analysis: The Key to Strong Plots and Believable Characters

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Conflict Analysis: The Key to Strong Plots and Believable Characters

A good novel will always have a good conflict—the kind that makes you root for the hero (the good guy) and want to boo the antagonist (the enemy, the bad guy). It needs to be balanced enough to create a real fight where both opponents are equally or equally strong and able to defeat each other. Turn the page to find out the tension.

Types of conflict

If we think back to our high school English classes, we probably remember being taught about different types of conflict. Here they are as a refresher with a few examples:

  • Human vs Human: Achilles vs. Hector in the “Iliad”; Jean Valjean vs. Javert in “Les Miserables”; King Arthur vs. Mordred in Arthurian legend.
  • People vs Society: It’s usually the person vs. city hall, or the person who speaks out against unfair regulations. Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” pits capitalists against those trying to create a socialist world. In “To Kill a Mockingbird,” a lawyer must defend a man in court against a racist society.
  • Human vs Supernatural: Van Helsing and Co. fight against Dracula. Humanity is fighting aliens in “War of the Worlds”.
  • Man vs. Nature: In most of Jack London’s stories-man is left alone in the winter or in the desert and is able to rely only on his own wits. Tarzan vs. The Lion.
  • Man vs Self: Man faces his own demons or weaknesses; He may have to overcome his fear of heights to rescue the girl; He may have to overcome his alcoholism to save his family from falling apart. He may have to find the courage to reject his overprotective mother for the girl he loves, in which case we also have man vs. man (his mother). Sometimes the conflict is subtle, like the heroine just “finding herself,” as in Kate Chopin’s “The Awakening.”

Elements of conflict

Beyond deciding what form the conflict will take (and good fiction often has more than one type of conflict), the conflict must be strong enough to keep the reader interested. It must be relevant to the story, be believable, further the plot and develop the main character.

  • Relevance of Plot and Resolution: A good conflict must be relevant to the plot of the novel. If the character must rescue the princess from the dragon, obviously there is human vs. supernatural (dragon). However, there may be other conflicts such as man versus society—if the man is a low caste, the king may not want to marry the princess because he is not of royal blood. The man can also be a coward, so he has to overcome his own fear (man versus himself) so he is brave enough to stand against both the king and the dragon. Each of these forms of conflict is relevant to the overall plot and the resolution to allow the goat to marry the princess. However, throwing in a story about a man having to rescue his goat from a wolf wouldn’t be relevant, even though that would be conflict, unless you could connect it to the main plot – perhaps the wolf is the dragon’s minion. And the goat was sent to steal away to discover where the dragon held the princess as his prisoner.
  • Credibility: The conflict must be believable. If the reader does not find the conflict believable, the story will fail, become ridiculous or boring. For example, humans vs. rabbits is not going to be a viable form of conflict because humans can easily defeat rabbits. However, Rabbit vs. Rabbit can be a powerful fantasy story like “Watership Down” where there is a battle between rabbits that also serves as a metaphor for human society. David and Goliath is another example of an incredible conflict, but this time with a twist. David could not physically conquer Goliath based on strength alone, but with intelligence and skill and his faith in God, he succeeded in killing Goliath with his slingshot.
  • More plots: Conflict must always advance the plot. If the main character is on a quest to rescue the princess, it doesn’t make sense for him to meet and fight pirates unless that conflict can be tied to a larger goal. If the goatherd can engage the pirate in a sword fight and defeat him and then save the pirate’s life in exchange for the pirate and his men to accompany him to rescue the princess (something that the hero may find impossible on his own) then between the pirate and the hero Conflict can be used to further the plot.
  • Develop character: The conflict must be relevant to who the character is. If your hero is a marathon winner and has to race a pygmy to the top of a mountain to achieve his goal, that won’t be much of a conflict (unless you’re going for a comedy). But if the hero must fight snakes and the thing he fears most in the world is snakes, then the character becomes dynamic, must muster his courage to face the conflict. Often the conflict may appear to be something to do with fighting an external force, only for the character to realize that he is facing an internal test – one to reaffirm his goodness, to justify his past actions, to overcome his inner demons, and he only succeeds. . Conquering conflict when he comes to a place of peace within himself.

When you sit down to write your novel, you might start with a character idea like a beautiful princess, or a plot like reclaiming the throne for the rightful king, but the next question is to ask yourself what the conflict will be. : What stands in the way of the king regaining his throne? Evil wizard who wants absolute power. What does the princess want the most true love? What stands in the way of achieving his true love? Her father will only let her marry a prince but she loves goats. This is where the conflict comes in, the problem that must be overcome and the plot revolves to lead the book to its resolution. From there, you figure out a way to overcome the king’s objections, and you find out what powers the wizard has and how those powers can create conflict. Then you will have a good conflict. And there is no story without conflict.

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