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: Bad Weather
Category: Increased pressure and ticking clocks, losing an advantage, loss of control, miscellaneous challenges
A storm when the character is without shelter
Bad weather on the character’s wedding day
A mudslide that washes out a road
Non-stop rain that swells a river crossing, creating a danger
Fog that obscures a hazard on the highway
Being caught in a tornado or tropical storm
Running out of fuel or food as a snowstorm hits
Having loved ones unaccounted for after an earthquake
Frustration, anxiety, and worry
Losing an advantage (a head start, etc.)
New obstacles to overcome
Having to cancel plans or reschedule
Increased danger if traveling
Potentially Disastrous Results:
Suffering an injury far from help
Being lost in a storm
Proximity to danger (a tornado, a forest fire, a eruption, etc.)
Getting into a car accident because of poor road conditions
A wedding being postponed
Being snowed in without enough resources
Being trapped in a precarious situation (being caught in a flood zone, being trapped on a bridge that could be washed away)
Being separated from loved ones while escaping a crisis situation
Being delayed to the extent that the character’s competitors take the lead
Possible Internal Struggles (Inner Conflict):
Wanting to flee a danger but also needing to save others
Self-preservation warring with doing the right thing and helping others
Feeling powerless yet desiring control
Wanting to secure an advantage for their family’s safety but knowing everyone deserves the same advantages
Hiding pessimism and fear to keep others calm
People Who Could Be Negatively Affected: The character themselves and any who are relying on them, people in peril due to the weather
Resulting Emotions: agitation, apprehension, defeat, desperation, determination, disappointment, frustration, homesick, hopefulness, impatience, nervousness, overwhelmed, panic, powerlessness, resignation, self-pity, uncertainty, unease, worry
Poor weather can cause an opportunity to better prepare, or make alternative (and better) plans
A delay due to weather can save your character from danger or a disaster (a forest fire prevents a character from entering the battlefield in time, saving his life)
Being trapped with others to wait out bad weather can lead to the characters growing closer or working through differences
If you’re interested in other conflict options, you can find them here.
Need More Descriptive Help?
This conflict thesaurus is still being developed, but if you would like to access our entire descriptive collection (15 unique thesauri and growing), visit our main site, One Stop for Writers.