on Fiction University:
Conflict is a key element of every story, supplying the problems, obstacles, adversaries, and blockers that make the protagonist’s road to their goal bumpy and uncertain.
It has many superpowers, including giving readers a way to see who a character really is through how they respond to conflict.
Does the character run and hide, or blame others for their misfortune?
Will they ask for help when they’re over their head, or view that as weakness? And will they make the hard decisions, and if things go poorly, be strong enough to accept the consequences?
Conflict strips a character bare, and we see them for who they truly are, the good and the bad. And it is the crucible that tests and shapes them over the course of the story in ways that are needed if they are to succeed at achieving their goal.