Conflict in Story: Character versus Self – by C.S. Lakin…

on Live Write Thrive:

This post is a reprint from a few years ago, shared again to help you nail the opposition in your story.

Traditionally, there are four general types of opposition at the heart of a story. While our protagonist might face multiple kinds of opposition, the primary one will usually fall into man vs. man, man vs. nature, man vs. society, or man vs. self (and of course you can replace man with woman, or robot, or alien).

In story structure, there are key scenes in which the opposition rears its/his/her ugly head and “pinches” the protagonist—hence why these are called “pinch points.”

Two specific pinch points occur in traditional story structure, the first one falling between the 25% mark (turning point #2) and the midpoint (turning point #3) and the second one around the 67% mark (before the Dark Night of the Soul moment).

The purpose of the first pinch point is generally to introduce the opposition to the reader. The second pinch point reveals the full force of the opposition.

For example: in the fairy tale of Little Red Riding Hood, we meet the wolf for the first time in the forest, as Red is on her way to her grandmother’s with a basket of goodies. He doesn’t attack Red, but we see the danger he represents. In the second pinch point, before the climax, the wolf has eaten Grandma and is in bed wearing her nightie and bonnet, now posing a much greater threat to Red. (“My, what big teeth you have, Grandma …”)

You’ll find this basic structure in many, if not most, traditional stories, fairy tales, novels, plays, and movies. That’s because story structure is ingrained in us, and, because of that, readers expect it.

So that behooves writers to learn and master story structure!

Continue reading HERE


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