What is conflict?
Conflict is an essential ingredient to any plot regardless of genre. It's easier to look at conflict in relation to the other basic ingredients for a foundation plot line.
What are the utmost basic plot requirements?
A plot needs,at least two characters, one should be a protagonist and the other the antagonist.
Because almost every problem that affects us is caused by someone else. How many times have you felt the urge to disappear off to a desert island and get away from everything and everyone.
Conflict between two characters will be something that every reader will instantly identify with. Who hasn't gone through life without having a single argument or falling out with someone else?
Should conflict be resolved?
Absolutely, even if you are writing a series of novels. For example in the Harry Potter series, poor Harry Potter experiences a lot of conflicts which he resolves in each book. However the overriding conflict between Harry and he who shall not be named does not resolve itself until the penultimate instalment.
So yes conflict must always be resolved in the end to provide a satisfying conclusion and a return to the normal status quo.
Though conflict must not be easily resolved or else it is not really conflict. There should be many obstacles and set backs in the way of the protagonist who is trying to resolve the conflict that end up blocking their way.
How can conflict be resolved?
Conflict can be resolved in three different ways
- A hero comes to save the protagonist. This is often seen in fairy tales and can be seen as a disappointing end to your story unless the hero has suffered their own conflict.
- The protagonist searches deep inside themselves to find an inner strength and determination to overcome their conflict. They may also use skills which are developed during the story and locate resources. Think Harry Potter!
- A classic showdown between a goodie and a baddie.