1. erik martin
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    erik martin Contributing Member

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    Plot and conflict

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by erik martin, Jun 29, 2010.

    The idea for this thread came to me when I was replying to a different thread. What I would like to discuss is plot as conflict. To me conflict is the essence of plot and I was struggling to think of any work in which the plot was not centered around conflict. I flashback to seventh grade English with the lecture on character v. character, character v. nature, character v. self.

    So my question to you is, can anyone come up with any good examples of plot without conflict. I'll put on a target and say that it does not exist.
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Plot, by definition, revolves around conflict.

    Please read this thread about What is Plot Creation and Development?.
     
  3. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm not sure you understand your question but I would like turn it around and say:

    In a plot there can be elements that isn't conflict.

    Scenes used to describe, present and explain as an example, isn't scenes where the conflict have to be present or even foreshadowed or anything but is still a part of the plot.

    I'm not sure id plot need to contain conflict. A parent writing a short story to trying to capture and describe his love for his child etc could just be a bundle of warm lovingly described scenes with a sense of closure in the end. I don't see why that story would have to have a conflict and why saying that has a conflict wouldn't just be stretching the definition of conflict.
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Plot is not the same as storyline. A plot is a component of a story consisting of an actor, a goal or objective, a motivation, and an opposition. The conflict between the motivation and te opposition determines whether the character (actor) progresses toward the goal or fails to do so.

    A story generally contains a network of interacting plots. It is possible to write a story consisting only of a chronology of events with no plots, but they tend to lack energy or purpose.
     
  5. erik martin
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    erik martin Contributing Member

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    I'll take a look at the thread. I searched on conflict, but did not see it, probably did not look back far enough. This was prompted by the recent thread on developing plot, in which most of the responses centered around premise or characters. I wondered if I wasn't getting it. To me, a plot has to involve conflict and when I know what that conflict is, I pretty much know where my plot lies.

    The example of a parent describing their love for their child, to me, isn't a story. It's a parent describing the love that they have their child. A story has to go somewhere. If you start with love and end with love, there is no movement there. Not wishing to be rude, just playing Nick's advocate.

    OK, I just looked at the thread. My problem wasn't the search, it was not seeing what was right in front of my face.
     
  6. theSkaBoss
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    theSkaBoss Member

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    "For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so... righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad..."
     
  7. JTheGreat
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    JTheGreat Contributing Member

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    Ah, an LDS quote to tie it all up.

    A conflict is the essence of plot, so it would be impossible to have one without the other. With every plot, there is an underlying conflict. With every conflict, there is an underlying plot.

    Uh-oh, a thought just struck. There could be a plot, where everything goes peachy-keen for the MC. Everyone would get along, and he'd live the perfect life, sans conflict. It wouldn't be realistic or in the least bit interesting, but it would still be a plot, because he'd have a goal, but he'd just have no trouble obtaining it. So, it's a plot. Or would it? Nooooo... this thread has made me question my very literary beliefs!
     
  8. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Even if he has an objective in a peachy world, he still has to obtain it and overcome an obstacle.

    An obstacle doesn't have to be a villain or a monster or whatever. It could be that he's at home, his phone rings, his goal is to answer it and his conflict is the walk across the room. It would be a really boring story, but still.
     
  9. theSkaBoss
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    theSkaBoss Member

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    "My character's goal is to lay where he is and do nothing except for the things one's body does naturally while laying anywhere. No one bothers him. He lives in a world where sustenance comes through tubes coming out of his ceiling that are hooked up to him to provide him energy obtained from harnessing sunlight via solar panels on the roof. Artificial humanized photosynthesis. That apparatus is in working order. It is a sunny day. His goal is accomplished if he lays there until nightfall. He was already doing this before he made it his goal."

    Awesome. I imagine to make it interesting, you could write a short story about him and describe a bunch of exciting and interesting things happening around him that do not require his attention so much as to distract him from his goal.
     
  10. beccaisane
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    beccaisane Member

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    @ "My character's goal is to lay where he is and do nothing except for the things one's body does naturally while laying anywhere. No one bothers him. He lives in a world where sustenance comes through tubes coming out of his ceiling that are hooked up to him to provide him energy obtained from harnessing sunlight via solar panels on the roof. Artificial humanized photosynthesis. That apparatus is in working order. It is a sunny day. His goal is accomplished if he lays there until nightfall. He was already doing this before he made it his goal."


    Enthralling. :D
     
  11. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    lol, in such a case then the time passing by is the conflict. :D By definition, any plot has a conflict, even if it's un-dymanic or hard to find.
     
  12. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    As long as you are properly using the term plot, yes.
     

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