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120 Story Conflict Ideas and Examples


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Creating conflict in your story is essential for capturing your readers' interest and driving your narrative forward. In order to reveal character motivations and examine deeper meanings within your story, the protagonist must be presented with a challenge derived from conflict. Here are 120 story conflict ideas and examples based on the most common types of conflicts in fiction. From character versus the self to character versus the supernatural, we cover all the major literature conflicts and offer ideas that can get you writing right away.

Need more help? Try out HubSpot's AI Content Writer, the AI Story Generator, or our own Writing Prompt Generator for additional conflict ideas and examples.

Character vs. self

  1. A soldier copes with post-traumatic stress.
  2. A surgeon's hands fail him, becoming unsteady and threatening his career and his patients' lives.
  3. A young man, determined to become a musketeer, is consistently pulled into duels due to his pride.
  4. A criminal seeks to make amends for his past crimes as his life draws to a close.
  5. A person is overwhelmed by grief when his lover dies.
  6. A parent finds herself repeating a cycle of abuse and strives to break the cycle.
  7. A conqueror realizes that he has become a tyrant but struggles to change course.
  8. A serial killer struggles to justify his crimes.
  9. A rapper stutters each time he gets up in front of a crowd.
  10. An evil wizard finds it difficult to make friends.
  11. A drug dealer becomes a drug user.
  12. A devout Catholic doesn't want to admit to herself that she is gay.
  13. A student who is an exceptional singer wants to try out for the school musical but has stage fright.
  14. A man's girlfriend gets pregnant, but he isn't ready to be a father.
  15. A child blames himself for his parents' divorce.
  16. An old woman wishes to reconnect with her family but is slowly losing her memory.
  17. A woman wishes to travel the world but is too scared to leave her home.
  18. A man is rich beyond his wildest dreams but has become increasing lonely in the process.
  19. A man wishes to reconnect with his high school sweetheart but is ashamed to talk about what he has done with his life after graduation.
  20. A woman is about to walk down the aisle at her wedding when she realizes that she isn't ready to be married.

Character vs. character

  1. An arsonist evades a detective determined to capture him.
  2. A wedding planner is at odds with a bridezilla.
  3. Road rage pits two drivers against each other.
  4. An author is kept from publishing his book by a publisher who wants to ruin his career.
  5. An unhappy customer demands to speak to the manager.
  6. An android confronts its creator, demanding to be freed from indentured service.
  7. A bully steals a kid's lunch money every day.
  8. A referee at a football game wants a quarterback to get hurt during the game.
  9. A knight swears to seek vengeance against his tyrannical king.
  10. A sailor organizes a mutiny against his captain.
  11. A marriage ends in a bitter divorce.
  12. Two political candidates campaign against each other.
  13. Two college students have a crush on the same person.
  14. An entrepreneur discovers that her most trusted employee is building a competing business.
  15. A new mother and her mother-in-law battle over the "right way" to care for a new baby.
  16. A man confronts the person who assaulted him.
  17. A man seeks to find the murderer who killed his father.
  18. A mother is unable to connect with her rebellious daughter.
  19. A teacher is being harassed by a particularly unruly student.
  20. Representatives from two warring nations meet to start peace talks.

Character vs. society

  1. A Marxist revolutionary attempts to take down a mega-corporation.
  2. A real estate developer faces town opposition to his proposed subdivision.
  3. A person with evidence that ghosts exist must convince the world of his findings.
  4. A person attempts to stop a fledgling fascist political party from taking over the country.
  5. A Franciscan missionary attempts to Christianize the indigenous peoples of the New World.
  6. A teacher struggles to convince a town to provide more school funding.
  7. A man chains himself to a tree in order to prevent it from being cut down by a new building development.
  8. A doomsday prophet attempts to convince others that the end is near.
  9. A private investigator must convince the media that a popular elected official is corrupt.
  10. A Mormon woman decides she wants to become part of the priesthood.
  11. A town shuts down your restaurant due to a health code violation.
  12. A woman in 1918 fights for her right to vote.
  13. A regime declares that a kindergarten teacher is an enemy of the people.
  14. A man is ridiculed online after a video of him is turned into an embarrassing meme.
  15. A painter creates controversial art that galleries refuse to show.
  16. A grocery store owner fights gentrification in his neighborhood.
  17. A famous actress is harassed by the paparazzi.
  18. A man faces discrimination.
  19. A person is permanently banned from playing a MMORPG.
  20. An undercover spy is exposed and hunted down by several governments.

Character vs. nature

  1. After a plane crash, a person must survive on a desert island.
  2. An orphan must scrounge and survive in a far-future urban wasteland.
  3. A man tries to escape a cattle stampede.
  4. A hiker is bitten by a poisonous snake.
  5. A man wakes up to find himself buried to his neck in sand.
  6. A kayaker becomes lost at sea.
  7. An android struggles to find sources of power during a nuclear winter.
  8. A camper becomes lost in the woods.
  9. A dream-walker finds himself trapped inside his nightmare.
  10. A hiker encounters a grizzly bear protecting her two young cubs.
  11. A vampire seeks shelter as dawn breaks.
  12. A school crossing guard works during a monsoon.
  13. A person flees his town during a forest fire.
  14. A person is buried alive inside a coffin.
  15. A man accidentally turns down a flooded road during a rainstorm, and his car starts filling with water.
  16. A person races to escape an erupting volcano.
  17. A person slips through ice while crossing a frozen pond.
  18. A person seeks shelter during a hurricane.
  19. A farmer's land is plagued by locusts.
  20. A person climbs Mount Everest.

Character vs. technology

  1. A skydiver jumps out of a plane, but his parachute does not open.
  2. A person is stuck inside a virtual reality game.
  3. A man is unknowingly brainwashed by his cell phone.
  4. An interpreter is replaced by translation technology.
  5. A lifeguard at a wave pool finds that the equipment is malfunctioning.
  6. A criminal is being hunted down by a police drone.
  7. A space pirate finds himself marooned on a derelict craft and must repair the ship.
  8. A person must disarm a bomb before it explodes.
  9. A person must fight robots in gladiator combat.
  10. A person is chased by an artificially intelligent car.
  11. A man must initiate an EMP surge before toasters take over the world.
  12. A video rental store owner competes with the rise of streaming services.
  13. A computer programmer has to destroy the AI she created because it is too powerful.
  14. A man is stuck on a broken roller-coaster.
  15. A person must stop a worldwide computer virus.
  16. A woman travels across the country with a faulty GPS.
  17. A woman discovers that her boyfriend is an evil cyborg.
  18. An old man must figure out how to use his newly gifted cellphone to call his grandson.
  19. A repairman is unable to fix a refrigerator.
  20. A broken time machine sends a person to the wrong time period.

Character vs. supernatural

  1. A person is possessed by a demon.
  2. A clown finds that children are being turned into circus attractions.
  3. A person is being hunted by a werewolf during a camping trip.
  4. A knight must slay a dragon.
  5. A photographer captures monsters by trapping them in photographs.
  6. A person is haunted by a ghost.
  7. A man gives his girlfriend a vintage engagement ring, but she soon discovers that it carries a terrible curse.
  8. A sailor discovers that his wife is a siren.
  9. A person is tricked into swapping places with their reflection.
  10. A vampire seduces a woman.
  11. A mom must find her child, who has been kidnapped by goblins.
  12. A man flees a group of zombies.
  13. A warrior must fight a dark wizard.
  14. A woman must trap the fairies that infest her home.
  15. A witch turns a person into a goat.
  16. An archeologist awakens a mummy.
  17. A boy confronts the monster under his bed.
  18. A farmer must deal with cursed vegetables the size of his tractor.
  19. A man is lost in an ever-changing maze.
  20. An old man must evade the grim reaper for as long as he can.
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