Screenwriting : Today's Wish and Creative Tip by Laurie Ashbourne

Laurie Ashbourne

Today's Wish and Creative Tip

The Legs of Conflict Explore conflict on all 4s. Conflict is more than fighting. Simply put, conflict is when something or someone stands in a character's way and it occurs on 4 primal levels: 1) Inner conflict is when your character is acting against what they believe, they become heroes when they have the courage of their convictions but they shouldn't start out that way. 2) Personal conflict is when their buttons are pushed by someone who has a personal stake in their lives. 3) Social conflict (look around it's everywhere) 4) Physical conflict, these are the battles, yes. But they could also be rising flood waters, lost keys or broken air conditioning. Since every scene should have a character trying to achieve something, it stands to reason that someone or something would stand in the way and now you have 4 ways to achieve that -- so there is no excuse for boring, unneccessary scenes. Stand conflicted in your story, not in your day.

Nelle Nelle

Thank you for this! All stories need conflict. The first and only screenwriting book I've read is Syd Field - Screenplay "All drama is conflict. Without conflict you have no action. Without action, no character. Without character, no story. Without story, ain't no screenplay? "

Richard Gustason

Excellent advice Laurie. Because all screenplays whether they be comedy or drama or the whatnot, need conflict. Thank you for this.

Bill Costantini

One really good exercise for dramatic writers is to view a film....scene-by-scene....and note the different types of conflict that take place in each scene. Make a running list of those conflicts. You might even see a pattern as to how one type of conflict might play out first in the scene...and then how the effect of that type of conflict (say..."physicall") might lead to a natural and logical effect or an "inner" conflict or "personal" conflict. If you conceptualize and construct story with that type of methodology....not only is your story more logical, natural and coherent, but it is immersed in conflict, otherwise known as drama. Watch one of your favorite films in that type of analytical way, and I bet you'll be able to identify at least 100 moments of some type of conflict. And in that film's culminating moments -as well as other moments - multiple conflicts emerge together in a crossroads of conscience and of action. That's some serious drama at those points. Does your screenplay have 100 moments of conflict and multiple conflicts emerging together like that? Great post, Laurie.

David Levy

Sorry, but I am just too conflicted by all this information!

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