General, writing

Conflict: Versus Society

Man versus Society is another form of conflict. Conflicts including society have a unique trait to their antagonists in that they don’t necessarily have an antagonist per se. Most of the problems in these types of stories come from challenging a traditional or societal norm.

With versus society conflicts, you may have a character who plays heavily as the antagonist role, or you may have several characters who present as antagonists. Because the main challenge is in that societal idea or view, it’s easy that your ‘antagonist’ changes from one person to the next, morphing as each smaller obstacle is overcome.

Don’t be fooled if you feel like your plot is meandering without the traditional antagonist. Take a look at what’s causing each problem and make sure it relates back to the idea that your main characters are trying to challenge.

In some cases, you may very well have a traditional antagonist, who shows up as an embodiment of that idea. This could be anything from someone there to enforce that traditional idea, an older patriarch/matriarch, a leader of the group trying to defend the norm or even someone who has fallen into the trap presented by this idea.


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