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How many conflicts should your novel have? The answer is actually pretty simple: five.

Too few conflicts and the story will feel stretched and contrived. Too many conflicts and the story will be difficult to follow and fail to have a satisfying ending. Five is the happy medium.

Not just any five conflicts. These five conflicts have to represent the complexity of real life.

ASSIGNMENT: Continue to develop your three ideas. Brainstorm how your ideas relate to these five conflicts. Have you considered your “Big World” for these stories?

FOR FURTHER STUDY: Explore these ideas further with The Novel Matrix book at You can also take the Novel Matrix classes at Writers.Company.

Watch a movie and see if you can identify the five conflicts. Can you pick them out?