Tip #7 The Main Conflict is the Only Conflict

I am a person who thrived on conflict. As a high school basketball coach, it served me well. I would argue with referees. I would argue with my own players. Also players on other teams. I would also argue with scorekeepers, and the person running the play clock. Yes, I was that coach. While it served me well (sometimes) on the basketball court, and my teams had winning seasons. It doesn’t work in flash fiction.

Remember those conflicts your high school English teacher taught you so long ago.

Man vs. Self. … -The struggle is internal.

Man vs. Man … -Just think of me on the basketball court.

Man vs. Society … -This is exactly how a protagonist feels when he or she has a conflict with society. Think ‘1984.’

Man vs. Nature … -This is how the protagonist battle the elements. ‘Robinson Crusoe’ by Daniel Defoe or ‘The Martian’ by Andy Weir.

Man vs. Machine …-Think Terminator! Think Blade Runner!

Man vs. Fate/Supernatural …-Man vs. Self: Internal conflict is that which exists inside the character. Struggles with morality, fate, desire, and belief, to name a few.

This form of conflict is central to the character, or characters and must be resolved by the character alone. Go to this website for more details on conflict:


I had to look this last up. Okay, it’s been a while since I took high school English. 

Just remember you can only choose one conflict for your flash fiction. I couldn’t have more than one conflict in a story. It doesn’t matter which you pick but only pick one.

In hindsight as a coach, I settled down when I coached volleyball and my teams were just as successful. I should’ve of been more zen as a coach….maybe there’s a flash fiction story in there.

Author: Chuck Anderson

Chuck Anderson is an art-student, runner, publisher, and writer who lives in Colorado. https://madcow.press

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