A conflict can be rooted in the main plot, it can be rooted in a relationship between characters, or it can be both. Here are a few strategies for creating a new conflict in a scene.
Within a scene each character has a goal and obstacles preventing them from achieving that goal. This means every scene contains at least one conflict, if every character is collaborating or competing to achieve the same goal.
Tension is created whenever a conflict prevents a character from achieving a goal. This can be a force of nature, another character, or an internal struggle, such as the character debating what to do. Tension also helps to create a sense of pacing, the rate at which scenes progress. Generally an audience will perceive a low tension scene as longer than a high tension scene.
I. It Begins with a Goal
Every character starts with a goal, usually a desire to change things. This goal takes the form of 4 distinct roles; adventurer, achiever, victim, and leader.
Motive, Means, and Opposition
When people criticize a story as boring they usually mean there isn’t an engaging conflict. A good conflict gives the reader something to anticipate. To create a conflict, start with a character and a goal. Give the character a motive to achieve the goal; a means to pursue it, and obstacles to obstruct the character.