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Is conflict neccesary? [Discussion]

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crossposted from YCM

https://stilleatingoranges.tumblr.com/post/25153960313/the-significance-of-plot-without-conflict

came across this a few weeks ago and wanted to know what you all thought of it.

TLDR for article: there exists a alternative narrative structure, commonly known as "kishotenketsu", that is not driven by a central conflict (as most mainstream Western narrative structures are). It consists of a first part establishing the story aspects, developing them in a second, introducing a new and notable story element in the third part (called a 'twist' in the article but not neccesarily a plot twist) and in the fourth/final part, the third is 'reconciled' with the initial two.

thoughts?

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The thing is even without obvious conflict, plots "without conflict" have some sort of....conflict. There's more than likely something that needs to be resolved or an emotional or mental problem that the character works through.

Does there have to be an external force that the character is against? No. But, and saying this as a fan of the slice of life genre, there's going to be something a character has to go through or figure out or understand which itself is a form of conflict.

The example given in the article I wish they had given an example of an actual story that has this to make it easier because I'm not sure I'd call it a story. It's a scene without any context basically.

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Man I thought this was gonna be in general and was ready for a shitshow.

But yeah, as cow said, conflict is inevitable, even if it isn't violent.

Name 1 plot without conflict. You can't, because without conflict, it isn't a plot.

Also imo the linked article is extremely ignorant and none of their examples are without conflict.

Edited by (?)

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While I'm sure there are ways to convey a story without it, I'd say that kind of writing falls more along the lines of surrealism and poetry rather than storytelling. Either way, the logic is simple: Most readers want - if not need - something to look forward to for them to want to keep reading/watching, so if you take away the conflict, you also take away the release of tension during the resolution. In other words, there's no satisfaction, and the whole story is just flat and uninteresting.

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20 hours ago, (?) said:

Name 1 plot without conflict. You can't, because without conflict, it isn't a plot.

4 hours ago, Thar said:

While I'm sure there are ways to convey a story without it, I'd say that kind of writing falls more along the lines of surrealism and poetry rather than storytelling. Either way, the logic is simple: Most readers want - if not need - something to look forward to for them to want to keep reading/watching, so if you take away the conflict, you also take away the release of tension during the resolution. In other words, there's no satisfaction, and the whole story is just flat and uninteresting.

allow me to provide a rebuttal, please - this is a discussion thread, so i'd thought i'd try to continue the discussion.

i'm going to use two examples: from popular film culture, My Neighbor Totoro; from more art-based or unconventional film (even for this), Mr. Hulot's Holiday (even though the latter isn't really kishotenketsu, but i'm only using it for this next point.) now, for the sake of clarity i'm going to use the word "plot" to refer to the story's sequence of events, either chronologically or in the order of their placement; they will both be the same for these two examples.

under this definition and without explicit spoilers for the endings: Totoro's plot could be summarized as two girls moving to the countryside and meeting forest spirits there who come to help in a time of need. Hulot's is even more barebone by conventional standards: a man goes to the French beachside, enjoys the company, has a little adventure from time to time, and then leaves. i'd still say these are plots, but they certainly aren't the big plots (also called arch plots) that our genre/brand-oriented story culture (in America anyway) put emphasis on. (while Totoro does have a climax of sorts, it's not derived directly from a driving conflict, but indirectly from a miniature one, and it still works for those who care about the characters and their stakes involved).

they have more in common with mini plot, and in some cases even borrowing from antiplot, as they deliberately play down the sequence of events, sometimes divert from it, or sometimes barely have one at all (as in the case of Hulot, which indeed evokes a rather surreal state of mind for me) in order to emphasize and evoke, in a more subtle way, some other aspect of the story, or(for Totoro, the thinking and seeing through a youthful lens; i already discussed Hulot).

this brings us back to kishotenketsu: can you have a kishotenketsu plot without conflict? i think you can if you be creative; for example, in a story i'm planning, the conflict isn't so much in the actual sequence of events as it is in the main character's narration, as she tries to come to terms/reconcile with the endpoint of that sequence. but either way, what sets kishotenketsu apart is that the conflict, whether it needs it or not, does not have to be confrontational, so much as contrasting, or at most, very dissonant without 'blowing up' into a genre-style big plot.

(PS. pill: how is the first example in the article, where she gives the can to someone else, have a driving conflict?)

that's enough from me for now, as i posted this to hear from others not to expouse my own position. thoughts?

 

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                 Young_Mia_Thinking_1.gif

I think there's a fundamental flaw with the argument here that isn't being properly explored. That is to say, the point being presented is unsure if it's The Three Act Structure Is Not All The Matters, Stories Don't Need An Overarching Plot, or Conflict Is Not Needed. If we speak of the former, then sure, there's room to be explored... Even for the second, there's a strong case. However, it seems more like it's mostly on the third, while conflating it with the first and second for effect. Even cr47t's follow-up reply seems to fall into these pitfalls:

1 hour ago, cr47t said:

Hulot's is even more barebone by conventional standards: a man goes to the French beachside, enjoys the company, has a little adventure from time to time, and then leaves. i'd still say these are plots, but they certainly aren't the big plots (also called arch plots) that our genre/brand-oriented story culture (in America anyway) put emphasis on.

This has the same idea that overarching plots and the requirement, or lack there-of, of conflict are the same thing... Making it just as muddled an argument as the original post.

So let's break this down a bit.

The four-panel comic in question is full of conflict, both overarching and small. Each panel has a small conflict, such as needing to perform action to get drink... But those are small, something we will return to later. For now, let's point out the man in the third panel of the 4koma.  He's looking about, he's kicking his feet... This body language suggests that he is waiting for someone or something. That means that in panel four, either the girl arriving OR the girl giving him the drink, the conflict is being solved. In this case, the conflict is being alone and/or his thirst. For the purposes of a four panel comic, this is a central conflict.

The tumblr post seems to hold 4koma, and other four act structures, up as some sort of ideal conflict avoiding storytelling, but... that simply isn't the case.

tumblr_pkcxe2HDjm1wz8ph6o1_1280.jpg

This poptepipic 4koma is a better example of the argument for lack of conflict, yet there is clearly still a conflict. It just doesn't happen to be something the characters we see as the protagonists care about, so their resolution is to ignore it and carry on. In fact, this can be used to defeat one particular point from said original post.

Quote

No problem impedes the protagonist

The conflict doesn't have to center on the protagonist, at all. The protagonist is, by definition, nothing more than the main character. Or part of the main team, depending. Of course, in many cases, this role is expanded... but it doesn't have to. Even then, both the Can 4koma and the one above show characters making decisions that influence what happens around them, so it cannot be argued that the problem has to impede the protagonist. We can even showcase this in western storytelling! Many western stories, especially fantasy, involve heroes going out of their way to help others. By its very nature, that cannot be described as impeding the protagonist, up until the moment they willingly choose to do so. Same with Can girl... or subverted by Popuko and Pipimi. You can argue the duo is embracing death, but that means it isn't impeding them and they willingly chose to not be impeded.

Another issue I noticed is that the original post seems to conflate conflict and violence. Violence is conflict, but conflict is not violence. Hell, hunger being solved by eating is a conflict and resolution. That is not inherently violent. There's also this weird sense of "conquering" or "winning" they mention with the conflict, but, again... Popuko and Pipimi show how that isn't the case. Meanwhile, the Can 4koma can easily go back to my eating example, because you're quenching thirst with a drink. Conflict, resolution.

I can't speak too much for the movies mentioned by cr47t, but from what I recall, Totoro has a series of mini-conflicts that all make up the tale of childhood. The movie acts as a series of snapshots, rather than an overarching plot. And that is a fine, valid way of going about storytelling! That simply isn't the case being made. It could have been. It could have been a case for 4 act storytelling. But... here we are, instead talking about "conflict".

The very nature of humanity is conflict. To write a story without conflict is to make something completely alien to us as a species. You CAN make a story without a grand conflict, and Totoro is arguably an example of this... but the 4koma in the post is absolutely not. Because, for its small scale, it presents an action resolving its relatively minor "grand conflict".

By the by, I wanna make a point about conflict. A GRAND conflict is not the same as a CENTRAL conflict, which seems to be another general issue with this tumblr post. You see, a grand conflict is something like... The knight has to slay the dragon to save the town. It's grandiose, it defines every point of the story in many cases, and it leads up to the final confrontation. However, Seinfeld is a great example of a show that lacks a grand conflict, yet has a central conflict... Life.

Yep. There's no grand directive that keeps Seinfeld going, but there's is the central strand going through it that informs and affects the story. In the case of Seinfeld, it's just these horrible people going through their lives and just how shitty they can be. There are a series of small conflicts with each episode, and they aren't interconnected directly, but they're all a result of their lives and the decisions they made up until that point. It's a mundane central conflict, but that's one that a lot of people can connect with. You know, until they end up in jail for being pieces of shit.

Totoro, too, has a central conflict. The mother in the hospital. It is the source of just about everything that branches off in the movie, and though it is not at any point the main point of the movie... It informs and affects many aspects of it.

Being alive is conflict. Surviving, working, living day by day. And, if I'm honest? Most people lead mundane lives. But it's still a series of conflicts. Working to eat, eating to live, living to find meaning. Sure, this differs from person to person, yet the general idea remains. For example, I know someone who hates eating. Sees it as a total waste of time and money. As such, even the step of obtaining food is a conflict for that person. It's not exciting. It's not grandiose. It is conflict.

Anyway, I would also like to add that the post in question is very, very clearly making a case for Western storytelling being inferior to Eastern storytelling (by virtue of being "violent" and "confrontational"), and it just makes the point all the more confused. Both Western and Eastern storytelling have merits. Neither is objectively correct nor incorrect, and it is a great idea to expand your horizons beyond one or the other. In fact, I believe that the meeting of the two and finding a balance can create absolutely wondrous, beautiful results.

To sum it up:

  • OP on Tumblr is very confused about what hills they want to die on.
  • OP on Tumblr is confused about what the hills they got on even mean.
  • You can lack a grand conflict, but you cannot be without conflict. Even then, a central conflict may be more subtle than it appears to be, as it still exerts at least a certain level of influence on the events of the story.
  • Seinfeld lacks a grand conflict, but it DOES have Life as a central conflict.
  • Let's hope that Konosuba ends the same way. Because it's just Isekai Anime Seinfeld.
  • Life is conflict. Mundane though it may be, it is still conflict.
  • While unrelated to the main point, beautiful things come from combining techniques and storytelling refined in different areas. Both have strengths and weaknesses, and they can compliment each other.
  • Thank you for coming to my TED Talk.

EDIT: I also wanna point out that, while Life is the central conflict for everyone in Seinfeld... Newman is pretty fucking close, too.

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42 minutes ago, Themperor said:

Anyway, I would also like to add that the post in question is very, very clearly making a case for Western storytelling being inferior to Eastern storytelling (by virtue of being "violent" and "confrontational"),

Say it louder for the people in the back. The post reminds me of that video that seems to go viral every so often comparing the way elementary school teachers teach two-digit multiplication with "Japanese Visual Multiplication", the implication being that Asian kids learn a quicker version of the mathematical rigor involved in the exercise and therefore excel where Western (okay, American because videos like this get shared to mostly American audiences) students lag behind, an implication that has no basis in reality (and falls apart when you try to do anything bigger than, like, 41*32, as Vihart demonstrated with the obnoxiously dense grid she created for 97*86). It exoticises the region and does no one any good at all -- miss me with that nonsense.

You hit most of the other points I wanted to make, so I'll just add that the notion that Jacques Derrida said all reality is a series of narratives is a gross mistranslation of his assertion "there is no out-of-context", an assertion meant to break down the structuralist theories of language at the time he said it, and the propogation of said mistranslation, while probably fascinating to his field, was led by his rivals to demonize him. For more about Derrida's actual philosophy, here's a lengthy but languid lecture on that.

That being said, I do believe in stories without conflict (violent or otherwise). Russian Ark (written and directed by Alexander Sokurov) does have plot -- it is a story -- but in structure it's more a very technically proficient museum tour -- conflict is absent. Similarly (at least as far as "technically proficient" extends), the IBM short film "A Boy and his Atom" is absolutely more intended as a technical demonstration, though it too has a story, though you could argue the twist of the atom turning into a trampoline is a brief but still existing conflict. Same with Koyaanisqatsi (1982, directed by Godfrey Reggio and Ron Fricke) -- you can interpret it as with-plot but sans-conflict, but the very nature of that film asks for multiple interpretations by itself, so...

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I'm not interested in writing an essay on this, but I simply must leave my five cents on the matter. In short, yes, conflict is necessary. Even your two examples of a plot "without conflict" have conflict. I've not seen either, but I want you to look at your summary of My Neighbor Totoro again, really closely. You mentioned there are forest spirits "who come to help in a time of need." Without conflict, there would be no time of need. Even the most chill and peaceful games and narratives have some sort of conflict. In the eldest days of video games before we even had the disc space for grand plots, ancient games such as Super Mario Bros. and Pac-Man had conflict. Even Animal Crossing games consistently have a conflict between you and Tom Nook, to whom you owe a large sum of Bells for your house and later its upgrades. Animal Crossing: New Horizons even takes this a step further as you tame, settle, and slowly urbanize the untamed wilds of a remote isle. This is not a violent conflict, but conflict can be anything from all-out war to simply not wanting to go outside to do the thing on a rainy day.

There's also another point I'd like to address. Have you noticed how every example Tumblr OP provided of kishoutenketsu is a 4-panel comic? Even Blake's counter-example was one as well. That's because kishoutenketsu is a formula that works best on 4-panel comics. In fact, before today, I've only heard it used in the context of these comics, perhaps because to create a plot to something longer than four panels, you need conflict. Pick your favorite slice-of-life media, and even this will have conflict. For this example, I'll go with Kiniro Mosaic, which is the most peaceful, chill, and down-to-earth anime I have ever seen. Even this is not devoid of conflict, though its conflicts are smaller and subtler, and are on a per episode/chapter basis instead of having a grand overarching plot. Which brings me to my final point on why Tumblr OP is talking out of his ass at best, which isn't entirely related to the main subject of the thread, but I really have it out for this guy by this point and I can tie off the post nicely in this last paragraph.

Did you notice anything about my cited examples in this post? They're all Japanese in origin. OP claims conflict as a necessity in plot is a thoroughly Western ideal, and this is clearly not the case. "Ah, but what if Eastern writing just has smaller conflicts, Yui?" well I'm glad you asked, because that's also stupid. The oldest and greatest of JRPGs - such as the very first Dragon Quest - have large, overarching conflicts akin to Western writing. Not only was this back in the 80s when cultures weren't quite as easily melted together as they are today, but if that's not good enough for you we can go even further back. Way further back, to the oldest Japanese myths, with stories of gods and monsters having... wait for it... conflict! Conflict has and will always be a vital point to any form of narrative, as without it all you have is idle worldbuilding and a story made of nothing but setting the stage. A song that is nothing but the intro, if you will. Without conflict, there is no plot, and without plot, there is no narrative.

Edited by yui

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also 4koma still have conflict, it's just in a more abstract sense. The very concept of a joke in and of itself is a conflict.

Honestly the entire argument is absurdly reductionist for no real benefit other than trying to sound smart and boy do I hate shit like that.

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i cant cover everything so heres just a few things

On 5/23/2021 at 8:42 PM, Themperor said:

[long]

I'll think about this, cause there's a lot to take in, but I do think you make some reasonable points (for example, your description of Totoro was on-point and illustrated how me and the article missed the point - more on that later).

 

On 5/23/2021 at 9:58 PM, radio414 said:

...

You hit most of the other points I wanted to make, so I'll just add that the notion that Jacques Derrida said all reality is a series of narratives is a gross mistranslation of his assertion "there is no out-of-context", an assertion meant to break down the structuralist theories of language at the time he said it, and the propogation of said mistranslation, while probably fascinating to his field, was led by his rivals to demonize him. For more about Derrida's actual philosophy, here's a lengthy but languid lecture on that.

That being said, I do believe in stories without conflict (violent or otherwise). Russian Ark (written and directed by Alexander Sokurov) does have plot -- it is a story -- but in structure it's more a very technically proficient museum tour -- conflict is absent. Similarly (at least as far as "technically proficient" extends), the IBM short film "A Boy and his Atom" is absolutely more intended as a technical demonstration, though it too has a story, though you could argue the twist of the atom turning into a trampoline is a brief but still existing conflict. Same with Koyaanisqatsi (1982, directed by Godfrey Reggio and Ron Fricke) -- you can interpret it as with-plot but sans-conflict, but the very nature of that film asks for multiple interpretations by itself, so...

i'll look closer into Derrida. i had a negative viewpoint of postmodernism (the idea, not the people associated) to begin with but its nice to know i was wrong.

 

On 5/23/2021 at 10:47 PM, yui said:

I'm not interested in writing an essay on this, but I simply must leave my five cents on the matter. In short, yes, conflict is necessary. Even your two examples of a plot "without conflict" have conflict. I've not seen either, but I want you to look at your summary of My Neighbor Totoro again, really closely. You mentioned there are forest spirits "who come to help in a time of need." Without conflict, there would be no time of need. Even the most chill and peaceful games and narratives have some sort of conflict. In the eldest days of video games before we even had the disc space for grand plots, ancient games such as Super Mario Bros. and Pac-Man had conflict. Even Animal Crossing games consistently have a conflict between you and Tom Nook, to whom you owe a large sum of Bells for your house and later its upgrades. Animal Crossing: New Horizons even takes this a step further as you tame, settle, and slowly urbanize the untamed wilds of a remote isle. This is not a violent conflict, but conflict can be anything from all-out war to simply not wanting to go outside to do the thing on a rainy day.

There's also another point I'd like to address. Have you noticed how every example Tumblr OP provided of kishoutenketsu is a 4-panel comic? Even Blake's counter-example was one as well. That's because kishoutenketsu is a formula that works best on 4-panel comics. In fact, before today, I've only heard it used in the context of these comics, perhaps because to create a plot to something longer than four panels, you need conflict. Pick your favorite slice-of-life media, and even this will have conflict. For this example, I'll go with Kiniro Mosaic, which is the most peaceful, chill, and down-to-earth anime I have ever seen. Even this is not devoid of conflict, though its conflicts are smaller and subtler, and are on a per episode/chapter basis instead of having a grand overarching plot. Which brings me to my final point on why Tumblr OP is talking out of his ass at best, which isn't entirely related to the main subject of the thread, but I really have it out for this guy by this point and I can tie off the post nicely in this last paragraph.

Did you notice anything about my cited examples in this post? They're all Japanese in origin. OP claims conflict as a necessity in plot is a thoroughly Western ideal, and this is clearly not the case. "Ah, but what if Eastern writing just has smaller conflicts, Yui?" well I'm glad you asked, because that's also stupid. The oldest and greatest of JRPGs - such as the very first Dragon Quest - have large, overarching conflicts akin to Western writing. Not only was this back in the 80s when cultures weren't quite as easily melted together as they are today, but if that's not good enough for you we can go even further back. Way further back, to the oldest Japanese myths, with stories of gods and monsters having... wait for it... conflict! Conflict has and will always be a vital point to any form of narrative, as without it all you have is idle worldbuilding and a story made of nothing but setting the stage. A song that is nothing but the intro, if you will. Without conflict, there is no plot, and without plot, there is no narrative.

im just going to touch on the four panel thing - the example only gave 2 examples but now that i think of it a different format would be nice

SUMMARY

all in all i think i asked the wrong question(s) because i wasn't expecting the convo to go in this direction so ill just try to think about what i meant and then post on that later

Edited by cr47t

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BUMP and attempt to get the conversation to a more constructive place?

Recently read a post on reddit in this thread 

Quote

1st: There is conflict.

The conflict is rarely hero fights enemy, story resolves. The story, in this case, is a spiral. Instead of one great conflict you have multiple smaller conflicts. A good way to study conflict placement is to watch an anime. Count each conflict you see. Chances are there will be more than one per episode and no major conflict. If there is a major conflict(Like in most Naruto episodes) it tends to be during the 'ten' stage.

2nd: As stated before it's a spiral.
Don't think linearly. It won't work. Think in a spiral. You're not crossing the street you're navigating a hedge maze. By the end of the story your character should be fulfilled. The end goal is an enlightened character not a trampled villain.

3rd: Typically you don't stop at the basic,,, structure.

A very good example of this is Japanese horror. This diagram from Tofugu [link did not carry over] shows just how complex things can actually get. This is because all you need is the four acts. Other than that, the story is up to you.

Now that I've addressed what I know of Kishotenketsu that I didn't actually see mentioned...I'll go ahead and say that I do not agree with the people saying it won't transfer to the west.

As mentioned above a lot of anime use this structure in scripting. Anime and Manga are already incredibly popular. Parasite [the movie], another good example, has a 98% on rotten tomatoes. The west has already been exposed to consuming media with this structure. The actual issue would be figuring it out.

- u/KeijiTheCisnt

Hopefully this can settle this. I also think that assuming there is a conflict in kishotenketsu (i still think it can t6echnically be done w/o it even though it's supremely difficult to the point that are there any successful examples? anyway if there is a conflict in a kishotenketsu structure) then either the conflict itself or at least the resolution would be based on internal discovery rather than external action": the endpoint is more to fall in line with an enlightened character or world, rather than a trampled villain.

thoughts? (i hope this isnt as wrongheaded as the original post link has been shown to be)

 

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22 hours ago, cr47t said:

BUMP and attempt to get the conversation to a more constructive place?

Recently read a post on reddit in this thread 

Hopefully this can settle this. I also think that assuming there is a conflict in kishotenketsu (i still think it can t6echnically be done w/o it even though it's supremely difficult to the point that are there any successful examples? anyway if there is a conflict in a kishotenketsu structure) then either the conflict itself or at least the resolution would be based on internal discovery rather than external action": the endpoint is more to fall in line with an enlightened character or world, rather than a trampled villain.

thoughts? (i hope this isnt as wrongheaded as the original post link has been shown to be)

 

The ten in kishotenketsu is literally conflict.

Not to mention that motivation in and of itself is conflict between inaction and action. If a character has no motivation, then there is no action. With no action, no story. Sometimes this motivation is in subtext, sometimes it isn't even touched upon within the work and is up to the audience to decide, but even then, it is a required component.

Also here's a potentially hot take: 4koma isn't always storytelling. I wouldn't tell a joke and say it's a story. Now, some jokes are stories, but not all. To say that a 4 panel comic doesn't fit the conventions of storytelling is a whataboutism at best.

Another thought on it, if one disagrees with my previous two paragraphs, is that even if you can tell a story and say it has no conflict, is that an interesting story? I suppose that entertainment can be gained through spectacle, but... Is that a story? Is a painting a story? What's the point? Why are you telling it?

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3 hours ago, (?) said:

The ten in kishotenketsu is literally conflict.

Not to mention that motivation in and of itself is conflict between inaction and action. If a character has no motivation, then there is no action. With no action, no story. Sometimes this motivation is in subtext, sometimes it isn't even touched upon within the work and is up to the audience to decide, but even then, it is a required component.

Also here's a potentially hot take: 4koma isn't always storytelling. I wouldn't tell a joke and say it's a story. Now, some jokes are stories, but not all. To say that a 4 panel comic doesn't fit the conventions of storytelling is a whataboutism at best.

Another thought on it, if one disagrees with my previous two paragraphs, is that even if you can tell a story and say it has no conflict, is that an interesting story? I suppose that entertainment can be gained through spectacle, but... Is that a story? Is a painting a story? What's the point? Why are you telling it?

i'll respond to these and then imma just make a new thread for the other things i wanted to talk about involving this, and i'll try to not post here after this because people seemed to be a bit riled up (or at least that was my interpretation - it's hard to tell on the internet) by the title question, and i really don't want this to turn into any more of a fight.

PT 1: clarifying the original intent of my thread

first of all, i want to clarify something i should have made clear before - i wasn't trying to say that conflict is unneccesary or bad, just that i think a story could prioritize something above conflict and still be of quality, but by that i am not calling conflict dismissable; i guess a better way of wording the question would be "is conflict as the central focus always neccesary?"

my original point was that conflict between characters doesn't have to always be *the only* thing that matters, even if it conflict in general turns out to always be *one of* the things that matters most. as a writer who likes to try new things in writing i'm not the kind of person to hold onto any writing guideline as absolute. but i understand that some rules matter a lot more to some people than others, and that's what i think is happening here.

part 2: responding to the quote

i'm not going to respond to "the ten... is literally conflict" because i don't want to keep going back and forth causing a scene, and i talked about both of that in the first part of the post.

"motivation [as] conflict between action and inaction...": yes, motivation is something i wouldn't ditch at all. but i think of it more as a cause of action. conflict between action and inaction is more of a internal conflict scenario rather than what motivation is by necessity.

not going to comment on 4koma because i never meant for that to get so much focus.

can a story be interesting w/o conflict? i'm not going to answer that question with a yes or no b/c i want people to make up their own minds even if that leads to diff. answers than mine. now that i think of it, totoro, the example i mentioned above, could probably fit into less than 5 pages: i can't quite put into words what about it makes it special to me, it's kind of a personal thing, but i expect it could be more like the experience part than the story part.

a painting can tell a story but it doesn't have to and there are many that can't. a movie doesn't have to have a story, nor a book does, nor a game, but a story itself has to have a story, obviously. i still don't want to go in circles around what that means since that's a very person-to-person answer. i know that looks like a non-answer and a copout, but i'm just tired and want to move on to other things, if that's ok.

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