CONFLICT THESAURUS

Never struggle with Show-and-Tell again. Activate a free trial or subscribe to view the Conflict Thesaurus in its entirety, or click entries marked with a to explore unlocked content.

CHOOSE MY PLAN

The conflict scenarios you build into your story will provide vital tension, allow opportunities for your character's growth (or failure), and keep the pace from dragging. Use this thesaurus to find the right conflicts—from minor to catastrophic—that will take your characters and story where you need them to go.

A BREAK-IN

A CHILD GETTING SICK

A CHILD WANTING TO LIVE WITH ONE'S EX

A COMPETITOR SHOWING UP

A DANGEROUS CROSSING

A DEADLINE BEING MOVED UP

A DELAY THAT MAKES ONE LATE

A DIVORCE OR BREAKUP

A FAMILY MEMBER DYING

A FEAR OR PHOBIA REARING ITS HEAD

A HEALTH ISSUE CROPPING UP

A HOUSE FIRE

A LIE IMPACTING SOMEONE ELSE

A LOVE INTEREST TAKING UP WITH SOMEONE ELSE

A LOVED ONE BEING PUT IN HARM'S WAY

A MECHANICAL MALFUNCTION

A NATURAL DISASTER

A PARTNER BEING UNWILLING TO COMMIT

A PARTNER LOSING THEIR JOB

A PARTNER RACKING UP DEBT

A PLACE OF SAFETY BEING COMPROMISED

A PRANK GOING WRONG

A PROBLEM AT A CHILD'S SCHOOL

A RECESSION OR ECONOMY CRASH

A REPRESSED MEMORY RESURFACING

A ROMANCE BEING STYMIED

A ROMANTIC COMPETITOR ENTERING THE SCENE

A THREATENING CRIMINAL BEING SET FREE

A WAY OF LIFE BEING THREATENED

AN ANTICIPATED EVENT BEING CANCELED

AN ELDERLY PARENT REQUIRING CARE

AN ESTRANGED RELATIVE SHOWING UP

AN EX INTERFERING IN ONE'S LIFE

AN UNEXPECTED CHANGE OF PLANS

AN UNEXPECTED LOSS OF PRESTIGE OR WEALTH

AN UNEXPECTED PREGNANCY

AN UNWANTED INTRUSION

AN UNWANTED ROMANTIC ADVANCE

BAD WEATHER

BEING ARRESTED

BEING ASSAULTED BY A STRANGER

BEING ASSIGNED AN UNDESIRABLE PARTNER

BEING ASSIGNED AN UNPLEASANT TASK

BEING AUDITED

BEING BETRAYED OR ABANDONED BY A TRUSTED ALLY OR FRIEND

BEING BLACKMAILED

BEING BULLIED

BEING CAPTURED

BEING CAST OUT OF A GROUP

BEING CAUGHT IN THE MIDDLE

BEING CHEATED ON

BEING CURSED

BEING CUT FROM A TEAM

BEING CUT OFF FROM HELP

BEING DISCREDITED

BEING EVICTED

BEING EXCLUDED

BEING EXPOSED TO AN ALLERGEN

BEING FALSELY ACCUSED

BEING FORCED TO LEAD

BEING FORCED TO MARRY

BEING FRAMED

BEING GIVEN AN OPPORTUNITY TO CHEAT

BEING GIVEN AN ULTIMATUM

BEING GIVEN BAD NEWS

BEING HUNTED

BEING IGNORED OR BLOWN OFF

BEING IN OVER ONE'S HEAD

BEING IN THE WRONG PLACE AT THE WRONG TIME

BEING INJURED

BEING INSULTED

BEING LIED TO

BEING MADE TO WAIT

BEING MANIPULATED

BEING MICROMANAGED

BEING MISTAKEN FOR SOMEONE ELSE

BEING OFFERED AN EASY WAY OUT

BEING OFFERED DIRTY MONEY

BEING ORPHANED

BEING OUTMATCHED

BEING PASSED OVER FOR A PROMOTION

BEING PHYSICALLY ATTACKED BY A STRANGER

BEING PHYSICALLY MARRED BEFORE AN IMPORTANT EVENT

BEING PLACED UNDER A SPELL

BEING POISONED

BEING PRESSURED BY FAMILY

BEING PRESSURED TO CONFORM

BEING PRESSURED TO COVER FOR A FRIEND

BEING PUSHED TOWARD A SPECIFIC DESTINY

BEING RECOGNIZED

BEING REJECTED BY A POTENTIAL LOVE INTEREST

BEING SABOTAGED

BEING SADDLED WITH UNEXPECTED RESPONSIBILITY

BEING SCAMMED

BEING SET UP TO FAIL

BEING STRANDED

BEING SUED

BEING TAKEN FOR GRANTED

BEING TAKEN IN FOR QUESTIONING

BEING TARGETED BY A MONSTER OR SUPERNATURAL FORCE

BEING TARGETED FOR REVENGE

BEING THE BEARER OF BAD NEWS

BEING THRUST INTO THE SPOTLIGHT

BEING TRAPPED

BEING UNABLE TO FORGIVE ONESELF

BEING UNABLE TO FORGIVE SOMEONE

BEING UNABLE TO SAVE EVERYONE

BEING UNPREPARED

BREAKING OR DESTROYING AN IMPORTANT ITEM

BREAKING THE LAW FOR A GOOD REASON

BUREAUCRACY TYING ONE'S HANDS

CAUSING A CAR ACCIDENT

CAUSING A WORKPLACE HAZARD

CHAFING UNDER POOR LEADERSHIP

CHILDCARE FALLING THROUGH

CLASHING BELIEFS

CONFIDING IN THE WRONG PERSON

CONFLICTING INTERNAL NEEDS OR DESIRES

CONTEMPLATING SUICIDE

DISAPPOINTING SOMEONE

DISCOVERING A DEAD BODY

DISCOVERING A SPOUSE'S SECRET

DISCOVERING AN OUTCOME HAS BEEN FIXED

DISCOVERING ONE HAS A CHILD

DOING SOMETHING STUPID WHILE IMPAIRED

DOMESTIC ABUSE

DROPPING THE BALL

EXPERIENCING A CRISIS OF SELF-DOUBT

EXPERIENCING DISCRIMINATION

EXPERIENCING HARASSMENT

EXPERIENCING MEMORY LOSS

FACING A CHALLENGE BEYOND ONE'S SKILL OR KNOWLEDGE

FACING A DIFFICULT DECISION WITH NO EASY SOLUTION

FACING A THREAT WHILE UNARMED

FAILING AT SOMETHING

FAMILY SECRETS BEING REVEALED

FIGHTING AN UNWINNABLE BATTLE

FORCED ATTENDANCE

GETTING CAUGHT DOING SOMETHING WRONG

GETTING CAUGHT IN A LIE

GETTING IN A CAR ACCIDENT

GETTING LOST

HAVING A CRISIS OF FAITH

HAVING A MISCARRIAGE

HAVING A ONE-NIGHT STAND WITH A CO-WORKER

HAVING A PANIC ATTACK

HAVING FEELINGS FOR SOMEONE ONE SHOULDN'T

HAVING POOR JUDGMENT

HAVING TO BEAT THE CLOCK

HAVING TO BETRAY A FRIEND OR LOVED ONE

HAVING TO BLINDLY TRUST SOMEONE

HAVING TO BREAK A PROMISE

HAVING TO BREAK SOMEONE'S HEART

HAVING TO DECIDE TO HELP OR DO NOTHING

HAVING TO HIDE OR ESCAPE DETECTION

HAVING TO HURT SOMEONE TO SAVE THEM FROM A WORSE FATE

HAVING TO LEAVE ONE'S HOME OR HOMELAND

HAVING TO LEAVE SOMEONE BEHIND

HAVING TO MAKE A FINAL STAND

HAVING TO MOVE

HAVING TO PICK THE LESSER OF TWO EVILS

HAVING TO PROVE ONE'S INNOCENCE

HAVING TO PUNISH SOMEONE

HAVING TO RELY ON OTHERS

HAVING TO SPLIT UP FOR SAFETY

HAVING TO STAY BEHIND

HAVING TO STEAL TO OBTAIN SOMETHING VITAL

HAVING TO WORK WITH AN ENEMY

HAVING UNWANTED POWERS

HOURS BEING CUT AT WORK

INCURRING AN UNEXPECTED EXPENSE

INDULGING WHEN ONE SHOULD NOT

LACKING AN IMPORTANT RESOURCE

LEARNING THAT ONE WAS ADOPTED

LEAVING SOMEONE TO THE CONSEQUENCES OF THEIR ACTIONS

LOSING A BET

LOSING A CHILD IN A PUBLIC PLACE

LOSING A JOB

LOSING A KEY WITNESS

LOSING A PHONE

LOSING A SOURCE OF TRANSPORTATION

LOSING A VITAL ITEM

LOSING ACCESS TO SOMEONE IMPORTANT

LOSING ACCESS TO SOMETHING IMPORTANT

LOSING AN ALLY

LOSING ONE'S FUNDING

LOSING ONE'S TEMPER

MAKING A BAD INVESTMENT

MAKING A CRUCIAL MISTAKE AT WORK

MAKING A DISCOVERY THAT THREATENS THE BOND OF FRIENDSHIP

MISALIGNED GOALS

MISSING AN IMPORTANT MEETING OR DEADLINE

NEEDING TO BORROW MONEY

NEEDING TO CIRCUMVENT SECURITY

NEEDING TO DISOBEY AN ORDER

NEEDING TO INFILTRATE A GROUP

NEEDING TO LIE CONVINCINGLY

NEEDING TO SABOTAGE SOMEONE TO WIN

NEEDING TO SACRIFICE ONE FOR THE GOOD OF THE MANY

NEPOTISM OR FAVORITISM

NOT ACHIEVING A COVETED GOAL

NOT BEING TAKEN SERIOUSLY

NOT KNOWING WHAT ONE WANTS

ONE'S AUTHORITY BEING THREATENED

ONE'S INFIDELITY BEING DISCOVERED

PEER PRESSURE

PHYSICAL EXHAUSTION

PUBLIC HUMILIATION

PULLING THE PLUG ON SOMEONE

REALIZING ONE IS AT A DISADVANTAGE

RECEIVING A BAD PERFORMANCE REVIEW

RENT BEING RAISED

RULES CHANGING TO ONE'S DISADVANTAGE

RUNNING OUT OF CRITICAL SUPPLIES

SACRIFICING ETHICS OR MORALS FOR THE GREATER GOOD

SEEING AN EX WITH SOMEONE NEW

SENDING A PRIVATE MESSAGE TO THE WRONG PERSON

SEXUAL DYSFUNCTION

SOMEONE WITNESSING ONE'S MISBEHAVIOR

SOMETHING IMPORTANT BEING STOLEN

TAKING ADVICE FROM THE WRONG PERSON

TELLING THE TRUTH BUT NOT BEING BELIEVED

THE DEATH OF A PET

UNDERESTIMATING DANGER

UNKNOWINGLY SHARING INCORRECT INFORMATION

UNWANTED SCRUTINY

WAR BREAKING OUT

WITNESS INTIMIDATION

WITNESSING ABUSE

WITNESSING CORRUPTION

WITNESSING DISCRIMINATION

WORK-LIFE BALANCE BEING THREATENED

The shortcut for this page is t+c. For a complete list of shortcuts, see our Accessibility guide.