Crystal Kamm

Written by

Crystal Kamm

14 November 2022


Using Conflict to Move Your Story Forward

Writing conflict - Photo by Klaus Nielsen

NaNoWriMo is in full swing, and for some of us, that means we’ve started a whole new project!

Even though I am writing most of the time, there is certainly something about the energy of NaNoWriMo that gets me motivated. Maybe it’s that feeling that comes from following the #nanowrimo hashtag on Twitter and seeing how many writers are actively talking about their work.

Or maybe it’s something even more powerful than that? Like the feel of the muses running around like crazy all over the planet as hundreds of writers all work toward a shared goal. 

Then again, sometimes it feels like there’s no inspiration at all, and that can be really frustrating. Writing prompts can really help you to think of new ideas for your characters, settings, and other story elements, and adding conflict to the mix will yield some interesting results. Sometimes brainstorming a new scene for your character can lead to a whole new story thread, or at least a better and deeper understanding of who your character is as a person. 

writing conflict - Photo by Charl Folscher on Unsplash

Conflict as a prompt for character development

They say nothing shows someone’s true character like conflict, so it’s important to get your characters into sticky situations to see how they handle themselves.

Imagine something that your character feels strongly about and put them in a situation that tests that feeling (for example, a Muggle who hates magic is suddenly given her wizard nephew to care for and protect). Write the scene where your character is first introduced to this conflict and that challenges their beliefs, paying special attention to how they act and what they say. 

Conflict as a writing prompt for plot development 

One of the biggest problems writers notice with their early drafts is a lack of conflict. But conflict is incredibly important to the plot. It’s the thing that makes a story move.

Take a scene that is conflict minimal and hit it all the way up to a ten. Set characters against each other! Burn bridges! Make people mad! Creating emotional moments for your readers is the very thing that will keep those pages turning. And you can always scrap a scene if it doesn’t work out, as long as you remember to learn from the experience. 

Share your scenes

If you try one of these prompts, share your scenes in with our community in Discord! You can use Novlr’s link-sharing option to create a shareable link and get feedback from other writers. I can’t wait to hear how adding conflict works to give your story that added punch you need!