Three Great Conflicts

Three Great Conflicts

What is the Three Great Conflicts story tactic?

Show how your work helps people with life's great battles. Conflict drives your story forward, because we want to know how it resolves.

In a perfect world, life would be a dream. You would do the right thing, other people would be nice and life would be fair. Then there's the nightmare: flawed individuals, fighting each other, surrounded by natural disasters and bad luck. Reality is somewhere in the middle, and we get there by resolving lots of conflicts.

Resolve the conflicts that you or your user face with Happy Ever Afters.

How to use the Three Great Conflicts story tactic

Hollywood loves a good fight. Most movies centre on one of three Great Conflicts:

  • Hero Against Nature: fighting monsters, animals, disease, weather, accidents and Acts of God. For example; Jaws (1975)
  • Hero Against Society: fighting other people over resources, goals or values. For example; Black Panther (2018)
  • Hero Against Self: we are our own worst enemy, struggling to do what we know is right. For example; Trainspotting (1996)

Three Great Conflicts chart

1. What would the Dream version of your project look like?

2. What's the Nightmare version?

3. Where are the points of conflict between Dream and Nightmare?

4. Which is the greatest conflict that you - or your user - must fight? This should be at the heart of your story

5. How could this conflict resolve?

Tip: shape the ups and downs of your conflict with No Easy Way.

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Three Great Conflicts is one of 54 storytelling recipe cards inside the Storyteller Tactics card deck.

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