By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy
No matter what form it takes, conflict is at the core of every story. It’s part of what drives the plot, and it’s what makes readers eager to read on to see if the protagonist succeeds. Characters face problem after problem, and with each trouble found, they’re forced to make tough decisions about what to do next. It’s this constant flow of dealing with problems that keeps the story moving.
But conflict also exists in the world around the characters which has nothing to do with them personally—it’s just the inherent conflict of the world. The setting can be rife with problems that prevent your protagonist from solving her problems and even add to her internal conflicts.
These environmental conflicts are the issues and situations that make it harder for the protagonist to face the challenges of the novel. Getting food when you live in a big city is different from getting food if you’re lost in the woods with no gear or survival training. Dealing with a backstabbing co-worker during a team-building ride in a hot air balloon is more problematic when you’re terrified of heights.
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