13.6: External Conflicts for Characters

Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary, Amal, and Maurice

An external conflict is a story driver that originates outside the protagonist. In this episode a large part of what we’ll focus on is person-vs-environment as opposed to person-vs-person. PvE rather than PvP, if you will.

Credits: This episode was recorded by Andrew Twiss, and mastered by Alex Jackson, both of whom understand that environmental noise is a key external conflict driving their narratives.



“Break Things” – start the character’s story, and then have things begin going wrong. Don’t fix any of it. Just keep making things worse. 

“El is a Spaceship Melody,” by Maurice Broaddus 

3 thoughts on “13.6: External Conflicts for Characters”

  1. I believe you’re talking about the p. Acne’s bacteria. Everyone has the bacteria on their skin but it only affects certain people who are sensitive to it. Please don’t give those of us suffering with acne yet another stigma to battle.

  2. Disasters, broken elevators, food shortages, acne? External conflicts get in your characters path! This time around, Brandon, Mary, Amal, and Maurice talk about how to make trouble for your characters, from the big time disasters to the small daily problems, and how to make that personal for your characters. Plus, toss in fighting with your society, your environment, and watch your character struggle! Read all about it in the transcript, available in the archives or over here


  3. Modest proposal: It is not Nature that is the antagonist to humanity, but humanity that is the antagonist (nay, villain I say) in the destruction and degradation of Nature.

    In North America, we often still seem prone to this frontier mentality, in which Nature is a force that has to be conquered (yes, that word was used in this very podcast). But here in the Anthropocene, humanity is a bull in the proverbial china shop messing not just with species and ecosystems but with the Earth System as a whole, including her interlocking and interdependant biogeochemical cycles.

    Look up “Defiant Planet” by the Australian philosopher Clive Hamilton for a background on this.

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