On Conflict


When you think of the word ‘conflict’ – what words come to mind?

My thoughts: good guys vs bad guys, character growth, intergalactic war….but there’s actually much more to conflict. Joe Bunting from the Write Practice wrote a brilliant post titled The Secret To Creating Good Conflict

Here’s a quote from the original post (read it!) – “Conflict, in good sto­ries, is not about spec­tac­u­lar events or painful emo­tions. Good con­flict is about values.

I had a light-bulb moment while reading that post. Harry Potter valued family, justice and peace. Voldermort valued chaos, destruction and pain. No wonder they were enemies. It all boils down to what they valued. If Voldermort was also a family guy, I doubt he would have, well, destroyed Harry Potter’s family and effectively stopped the entire series from taking off.

Luke Skywalker valued freedom, family and peace. Darth Vader valued power, chaos and the dark side of the Force. Then he surprised everyone by having a value shift (i.e. from loving chaos to loving family) when he saved his son from Emperor Palpatine, at the cost of his own life. That goes to show that character values definitely don’t have to remain static. I’d say that makes a character much more interesting. Many of us go through life and have value shifts….maybe not as dramatic as Darth Vader’s, but of a more subtle variety. Interesting!