All About Conflict

Story Problems & Complications

Series 3 | Lesson 1

Creators | Emily Gale & Meg McKinlay

We all love seeing our favourite characters triumph, right? But what happens if things are TOO easy for them? In this lesson, Meg and Emily will tell us all about creating effective story obstacles, why conflict can make our stories unputdownable.

This lesson explores conflict, one of the key elements of narrative story writing. Students will learn about the different kinds of story conflict, and why problems and obstacles are a vital ingredient in a story. And they will explore how they can use conflict to create compelling scenarios that drive their stories forward.

Key Concepts:

  • What is conflict, and why is it so important in a story?
  • How conflict makes a story engaging, and why a story without conflict will be flat and dull.


  • The different kinds of story conflict and how students can use them when planning their stories.
  • How students can think about giving their characters goals, and then creating obstacles and problems to stand in their way.
  • Strategies for thinking about conflict in the bigger picture of story structure.

Resources for

All About Conflict

Resources include lesson plans for middle and upper primary students, each with their own activities and supporting resources.

Series 3 Lesson 1 resources on green background

Resources include:

  • An illustrated poster detailing the five different kinds of story conflict.
  • Fun, imaginative worksheets to explore the connection between conflict and character.
  • Writing examples that model the conflict writing tasks.
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About All About Conflict Creators

Meg McKinlay

Meg McKinlay is a children’s writer and poet.

She has published twenty books for young people as well as a collection of poetry for adults.

Her work has won a number of awards, including the Prime Minister’s Literary Award, CBCA Picture Book of the Year, and the Queensland and WA Premier’s Literary Awards.

Learn more

Emily Gale

Emily Gale has worked as a children’s book editor, a book buyer for Readings, a reader for a literary agent, and a writer-in-residence in a high school library.

Her novels have been shortlisted for the Ethel Turner Prize, the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award, the WA Young People’s Literature Award, and the Aurealis Award.

Learn more