man vs nature

the thing about environmentalism is that the earth and its wildlife will continue to exist even if capitalism fucks the planet up enough to make us go extinct. we’re not trying to save all life on earth, we’re trying to keep it livable for ourselves. the current crisis of the environment isn’t man vs. nature. it’s the making of an infintesimally small subset of humanity who are willing to cause the death of millions, possibly billions for their own soon-to-be-worthless profit.

to pretend that the billions whose way of life will be or is being torn apart by climate change are just as responsible for it as the bourgeoisie is the worst kind of liberal delusion.

snugsbunnyfluff  asked:

Hello, I hope you're well. I'd like to ask you about conflict! I've read lots in writing books about conflict. I know conflict is needed in a story and for the characters. But, my problem is, even though I kind of understand conflict I don't know how best to use it. I was wondering if you could provide breakdowns, maybe from your stories or other published stories. Sometimes seeing things spelled out helps me. It's okay if this is not possible. Thank you for your time, and for this fab blog í ½

Aww, thank you so much, love!  This is a great question.  In the writing community, we talk a lot about conflict without really defining what it is – and further, what types of conflict there are.  So I’ll list and explain them, as well as give some examples.


Types of Conflict (and Their Strengths)

There are five main types of conflict in fiction:

  1. Man vs. Man – Situational or relationship conflict between two or more characters.  (Think The Dark Knight or Beauty and the Beast.)
  2. Man vs. Self – Otherwise known as “internal conflict”.  Conflict between a character’s opposing feelings.  (Think Revenge of the Sith or Silver Linings Playbook.)
  3. Man vs. Nature – Conflict between the main character/s and the elements – providing for the self or defending against animals, weather, or illness.  (Think Life of Pi or Robinson Crusoe.)
  4. Man vs. Society – Conflict between the main characters and the “system” – the government or ruling majority.  (Think The Hunger Games or Hidden Figures.)
  5. Man vs. Technology/Supernatural – Conflict between the main character and a non-human force.  (Think 2001: A Space Odyssey or Gremlins.)

Like the different tenses or POVs, none of these options are inherently better than the others – but they do work better for different stories, so it’s important to know what they are and how to make the most of them.

I’ll now outline each style briefly, save for #5, which is fairly self-explanatory.  If you have a question about this style for any reason, though, let me know and I can make a separate post.


1. Man vs. Man

Man vs. Man conflict is the most easily recognizable conflict in fiction, because your characters are always aware of it happening.  There are three types of this conflict:

  1. Situational M-vs-M – Two characters have opposing desires or responsibilities, but only one of them can get what they want.  Leslie wants to build her park, but Ben wants to cut funding.  Wreck-It Ralph wants a medal, but Vanellope wants to use it to qualify for racing.
  2. Moral M-vs-M – Characters have a moral disagreement that must be resolved in order to maintain a relationship or make an important decision.  Luke wants to change Vader for good, but Vader wants to change Luke for evil.  Tony feels the government should keep the Avengers in check, but Steve thinks they should maintain individual control.
  3. Personal M-vs-M – Characters in a relationship, romantic or platonic, disagree on some issue or hurt each other in a way that threatens their relationship.  Noah wants to be with Allie, but Allie feels a commitment to Lon.  Rayna wants to marry Deacon, but Deacon can’t overcome his alcoholism.

Man vs. Man conflict is most popular in romance stories, as well as Good vs. Evil stories involving heroes and villains.  It’s best for stories that are character-driven, or employ themes of battling ideals.  This conflict is shown through arguments, escalating to Big Decisions with long-term consequences.  Here is a post on how to resolve interpersonal conflict.


2. Man vs. Nature

This kind of conflict is relatively straightforward, although it covers a variety of plots:

  1. Survival – The main character/s are left to the elements and must keep themselves fed, sheltered, and defended against anything that would harm them.  This is one of multiple conflicts in The Hunger Games, most prominent when Katniss and the tributes are in the arena – and during this time, Man vs. Man and Man vs. Society are also present.
  2. Illness – The main character/s are ill and must battle their illness – if treatable, battling for survival, and if terminal, coping with the inevitable.  This is a primary conflict in The Fault in Our Stars.
  3. Beast – This is kinda like Man vs. Man in that it is very singular, based on a conflict between two forces: a human and some sort of “beast.”  Of course, this beast doesn’t have to be an animal – it could also be a natural disaster, like a storm, or a spreading disease.  Anything from a white whale to a pandemic qualifies as “the beast”.

Man vs. Nature conflict is often coupled with Man vs. Self to create the best survival stories, facing topics of vulnerability, isolation, and fatality.  This conflict is best shown in sequences of varying “wins” and “losses” to Mother Nature, each one increasingly strengthening the character, as well as teaching them something about themselves or life.


3. Man vs. Self

This is one of my favorite styles of conflict, because it requires the deepest character development and provokes more philosophical questions.  The most common internal conflicts:

  1. Head vs. Heart – A tale as old as time: your MC’s heart is telling them what they want, but their mind is telling them the opposite.  This is sparked by an inciting incident (e.g. a new opportunity or love interest), which is battled back and forth internally until a decision is reached.  Typically the heart is painted as the right decision, but it can really go either way.
  2. Self vs. Self-Image – In this style, your character battles with themselves over their very idea of self – who they believe they should be versus who they instinctively are.  This is also perpetuated by outside forces, such as family members or love interests, who offer their input and confuse the MC.
  3. Faith vs. Science – This title is figurative, not literal.  Basically, this is a conflict in which your MC struggles with their beliefs (political, religious, etc.) when new information is introduced.  Life-changing events spark a question, which the character at first avoids, then assesses, until they arrive at a new conclusion or identity.

Man vs. Self is best for stories that tackle social, political, or moral issues.  It is often couples with Man vs. Nature or Man vs. Man, as a character’s other conflicts cause them to reassess their own beliefs, desires, or identity.  I believe, personally, that all stories should include some kind of Man vs. Self conflict, since the MC should be changed by the end of any novel.


4. Man vs. Society

This is a popular conflict in modern literature, especially with the rise of dystopia (and the state of unrest in social politics today).  There are two different portrayals of this conflict:

  1. Individual Conflict – In this conflict, one character, by some new circumstances, is put into a new role that “separates” them from society (e.g. they become disabled or discover a disability, they experience their first instance of victimhood or discrimination, etc.) and find a new moral position alternative to society.  This conflict is used in Mean Girls, as Cady Heron finds herself on multiple tiers of the social hierarchy at school and must decide where she aligns herself.
  2. Organized Conflict – This is the Man vs. Society we recognize from Star Wars, The Hunger Games, Divergent, and other “Us vs. Them” stories.  This can be led by Man vs. Man conflict between the leaders, such as with Harry and Voldemort, or Gandalf and Saruman.

Man vs. Society is great for high fantasy, dystopia, or any story central on social conflict.  This conflict drives most antiheroes or spy/assassin characters with no fitted role in the system.


So your first step is to decide on one or a few types of conflict to include in your story – not so few that the story idles, but not so many that there are no “resting points” in the novel.  Once you’ve picked them out, take some time to outline how they’ll develop.  Write it down and keep it as a reference for later, as you’re working through the story.

That’s all I have for now!  If you have any further questions, hit me up and I’ll respond shortly ♥️️  Happy writing!


If you need advice on general writing or fanfiction, you should maybe ask me!

anonymous asked:

What are some of your favorite books currently?

Okay, so this question requires a bit of explanation of my reading habits. There are four types of books that I read: Dime Store Novels, of Literary Merit, Smart Books, and Reference Books.

Dime store novels: Books that are written to tell a story and just to tell a story. They’re not out to challenge the genre or blow our minds with inventive structure. Currently on my nightstand:

  • Patricia Briggs (Alpha and Omega series): Actually anything by Patricia Briggs. I love her. Everything she’s written is the sort of strong, female characters that I craved growing up.
  • Tamora Pierce (ALL): Same as above, she’s got wonderfully strong female characters and I love her.
  • Victoria Laurie (Ghost Hunter series): Simple, straight-forward series with exciting characters and premise! I read her books super fast, I’d say it takes me about two, three hours to read one of hers.
  • Mira Grant (Parasitology): She’s always so wonderful about building worlds through character/character relationships. Fun read, edge of the seat in a lot of ways, can’t wait to get to book two! Probably takes me 4-8 hours to read one book.

Of Literary Merit: Books that do defy genre, blow our minds, are probably going to win a handful of awards. Currently on my nightstand:

  • George Saunders (10th of December): One of my FAVE short story collections, it won something like…three? awards including like best short story collection of the year.
  • Celeste Ng (Everything I Never Told You): I actually don’t know if this has won an award but it was AMAZING NO SPOILERS GO READ IT
  • Flannery O’Connor (Wise Blood): I’m actually just starting this! I’ll keep you posted~
  • Jennifer Egan (A visit from the goon squad): One of my all time FAVES, got me into intertwining narrative, I love it.

Smart Books: Books that make me look very intelligent (or pretentious) when I go home for the holidays. They tend to be fairly controversial in subject matter and/or wildly misunderstood to be smart in the first place. Most of them I even like which is a bonus! My go to books:

  • Candide by Voltaire: Great book, hilarious and people think it’s not filled with A plus satire because Voltaire sounds very fancy.
  • The Dubliners by James Joyce: Short story collection of classic narrative, big themes of imminent death, man vs. nature, etc. 
  • The Lucifer Effect by Philip Zimbardo: About the Stanford Prison experiment. It’s okay, I don’t necessarily agree with the stance Dr. Zimbardo takes on his experiment/actions, but he doesn’t expect you too, I don’t think.

Reference Books: Books that I read over and over again because I WANT TO WRITE LIKE THAT:

  • American Gods by Neil Gaiman: What the fuck. What the fuck. The detail?????? The characters???? Shadow???? What the fuck.
  • Two or Three Things I Know for Sure by Dorothy Allison - I cry every time I read this book. It’s so raw and honest, it takes my breath away. Every time.
  • The Earth and Everything Underneath by K.M Ferebee: So gorgous, the imagery is incredible and it’s about witches. It’s actually a short story that you can read here (X) and I really recommend you check out Shimmer in general because it’s a great magazine.

As always, there’s a ton more that I enjoy, but these are in my rotation right now! Ask me again in a month and they’ll be all different.