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Internal VS External Conflict: Why it’s so important!

Updated: May 18

Conflict is what the audience crave, humans love drama! What do you think sports teams and politics have in common? Conflict (of interest).


If you can master conflict, you will never lose the audiences interest for as long as you write. It’s often the case in many learning screenwriters works that conflict is misunderstood or not executed properly. So how can you write it effectively?


Internal conflict is at risk of be boring without external conflict. External conflict is too, at risk without internal conflict.

Sounds like jargon, so let's set the scene...



That’s external conflict without internal conflict.



That’s external conflict working in beautiful synergy with internal conflict. Granted, it’s no going to win an Oscar, but I think you get the point.


Newtons third law of notion states action causes reaction. This is not only the laws of physics, it should be the laws of drama too.


So I can’t write a scene with just one type of conflict?


This DOES NOT mean you can’t write a scene with just one conflict and it not be interesting, this has been done before. Take this scene in Mad Men for example:





With writing rules can be established, broken and proven write and wrong. We're in an complicated industry. However only until you know the rules can you truly and consistently break them.

So what makes great conflict?



You may or may not be familiar with Edgar Write. But he writes comedies with a twist. And that twist is, he makes you care about his characters and is the master at using internal and external conflict.


A great example of this would be in Sean of The Dead, when the protangist Sean, has to shoot his own mum as she turns into a Zombie.

I mean can you generate more internal conflict than that?? If you can, you should close this article and start your next masterpiece. Then submit it to our competition. Thanks, SWN.




External conflict


External conflict doesn’t have to be with just another human. Here are a list of external forces that conflict with the characters interest:

Human VS Nature


Human VS Robot


Human VS Dog


Human VS Race


Human VS Society











Blogging from Your Published Site

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