One of the most challenging types of conflict when creating a fictional character is that of man against himself. One reason this type of conflict is so challenging is that it is internal rather than external. It involves delving into the hidden processes of the human spirit and soul. At the same time, the conflict of man against self can be one of the most satisfying to write. It is the type of conflict I prefer and focus on when writing stories.
In “man against self”, the main character has a problem with himself. Circumstances create tension between the main character and his will or his fears, resulting in a kind of emotional schizophrenia that the character must resolve in order to grow.
In the conflict of “man against himself,” the main character struggles to come to a decision that, ultimately, will cause him to move beyond himself and become a better person. This decision, at its best, will involve great sacrifice.
If you have not yet used the “man against himself” conflict in your own stories, I encourage you to give it a try. You may be pleasantly surprised at the results. 🙂