“From the first moment I saw you, I knew we were meant for each other…It took us a while to get here, to get back to us. All that time along the way, all we had between us was the music and friendship. I’m very grateful for that because today that friendship, it’s the foundation that we will build this marriage upon. You’re my best friend, you are my one true love and from here on out you will wear this ring and you will be my wife.”

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!

I didn’t find Rayna dying a surprise. You don’t move to a new network and keep all your stars. Either Juliette, Rayna, or both were going to exit the show (i.e. die because they’re women and women hardly ever exit a show without dying). 

Rayna has been getting her affairs in order all season. Maddie was back home and they were a family again. She went on a self-discovery, found her music roots, and decided to write an album with Deacon. The album writing part was filmed in her home so now there’s a kind of home movie to remember her by. The future of her label is bright with her new partner. Juliette came back to Highway 65 and resolved any unease with Rayna. 

Even Scarlett found more of herself and became more confident / accepting of herself as an artist and woman, which wraps up Rayna feeling like she needed to watch out for her. Rayna fully acknowledged things weren’t always great with Deacon and he’s hurt her, but they’ve had happy, good times, too, and they chose to continually stand beside each other through the good and bad. 

There were lots of family moments between Rayna, Deacon and the girls. Maddie’s been dating an older young man, which prompted her and Rayna to have serious talks about relationships. Daphne got her period and became a woman, which Rayna was able to talk to her about. Daphne and Maddie have both been growing into their own separate lives and while they still need their mother, they aren’t children anymore.

The stalker plot always felt off to me, too sudden and no purpose, but it served as a way to force an accident and death that wasn’t for shock value. Rayna didn’t die for shock value. The stalker could have just killed her at the end of the episode, but instead her death was framed as a tragic accident. It also allowed her time to accept her death as the end of her journey. It could have easily been car accident -> hospital scene -> flatline -> dead. Instead, she was given time and a scene with her dead mother to reach closure. Her family and even Juliette were given time to say goodbye. 

Her death is a tragedy, but she wasn’t killed without any buildup and she didn’t die purely to shock the audience. She didn’t even die for manpain. It was a tragedy that will affect her family, friends, Nashville, and the entire world. Her death was not something that was done to her by another person in her life or a villain of the story. It was framed, rightly so, as an accident. It was a pretty good death, all things considered. 

They handled Rayna’s exit with a great deal of respect. Rayna dying was the only thing that made sense for her character. She wouldn’t leave her family. I can easily see her wanting to leave with her family (to get away from the music scene, to start over, etc), but it wasn’t realistic to write out Deacon and the girls, too. The only way you write out Rayna is if you write out her family as well. 

Rayna was always written as a strong family person who hated to be away from her family. There wasn’t a realistic way to separate her from the story without taking her family with her. She knows what it’s like to grow up without a mother. She would never do that to her girls. Death was the only way she would ever leave her family.

Yeah, Rayna dying sucks, but it’s a gift we even have a season 5. Nashville easily could have stayed dead when ABC cancelled it.