Conflict is very often the magic sauce for generating tension and turning a ho-hum story into one that rivets readers. As such, every scene should contain a struggle of some kind. Maybe it’s an internal tug-of-war having to do with difficult decisions, morals, or temptations. Or it possibly could come from an external source—other characters, unfortunate circumstances, or the force of nature itself.
It’s our hope that this thesaurus will help you come up with meaningful and fitting conflict options for your stories. Think about what your character wants and how best to block them, then choose a source of conflict that will ramp up the tension in each scene.
Conflict: Begin Forced to Move
Category: Increased Pressure and Ticking Clocks, Failures and Mistakes, Relationship Friction, Duty and Responsibilities, Loss of Control, Miscellaneous Challenges
Relocating for work
Having to move due to financial constraints
Moving due to a separation or divorce
Requiring specialized care (at a retirement home, for treatment at a medical facility, etc.)
One’s building being condemned or a safety concern
Moving to be on hand to support a struggling family member
Having to flee (to escape one’s enemies, avoid being caught by police, etc.)
Minor Complications: Having to take time away from work to pack, dealing with children who are angry about the move, a bank account hit as one pays for moving-related expenses, losing time to home repairs as one preps a home for sale, needing to leave on a moment’s notice for a showing, having to sell what one can’t take, having to reschedule appointments, holidays, or other commitments, difficult goodbyes to friends and neighbors, having to switch schools, a possibly longer commute or new job to navigate at the new place
Potentially Disastrous Results: Discovering the new place is riddled with problems (leaky pipes, faulty wiring, a pest infestation, awful neighbors), realizing the new neighborhood is unsafe or in some way undesirable (such as a new factory or mall being built close by), one’s kids hating their new school or being bullied by local kids, finding out a criminal lives next door, hating one’s new job, being unable to keep up with one’s new mortgage
Possible Internal Struggles (Inner Conflict): Second guessing one’s decision to move, self-esteem issues (if the move was a downgrade), reopening past wounds due to one’s situation (the pain of poverty, feeling abandoned or isolated, being mistreated at work, feeling unsafe, etc.), struggles with new places and change
People Who Could Be Negatively Affected: family members (especially children), friends, organizations that the character is involved with and must now leave, one’s employer if the notice is short
Resulting Emotions: agitation, anger, anxiety, apprehension, bitterness, conflicted, defeat, defensiveness, defiant, determination, disappointment, disillusionment, doubt, dread, emasculated, embarrassment, envy, frustration, guilt, homesick, hopefulness, hurt, insecurity, loneliness, longing, nervousness, nostalgia, overwhelmed, powerlessness, regret, relief, remorse, resentment, resignation, self-pity, unappreciated, uncertainty, vulnerability, worry
Personality Flaws that May Make the Situation Worse: abrasive, catty, confrontational, controlling, disorganized, forgetful, grumpy, gullible, haughty, hostile, impatient, impulsive, indecisive, inflexible, irrational, irresponsible, materialistic, melodramatic, oversensitive, pessimistic, possessive, prejudiced, scatterbrained, temperamental, uncooperative, volatile, weak-willed, whiny
Positive Outcomes: Realizing one is able to adapt to change and adversity, discovering new friendships and opportunities in the new location, being able to leave behind pain associated with the old home and situation, gaining a fresh perspective on life along with the new start, feeling more independent and life-capable
If you’re interested in other conflict options, you can find them here.