Understanding Both Sides of the Story

To craft a meaningful conflict an author has to understand the two differing worldviews of his hero and antagonist that make them act the way they do. Only then he can take their side and make their argument a compelling truth, one can believe in.

Conflict can only exist, if Hero + Antagonist are different from each other. They represent polar opposites. Two opposing principles, that seek confirmation. Thus every conflict is a variation on the universal conflict between Order and Chaos. Yin vs Yang. Every character either represents a principle of Order or a principle of Chaos. Neither is good or bad per se. Both their arguments are flawed, both characters fail to see whole. It’s only the way they solve their conflict, that might redeem one or condemn the other.

The Roadmap for Storytellers outlines the 6 archetypal conflicts, their heros and antagonists and the worldviews that shape their motivations. So the author can learn about the flawed logics of his characters to find out how to setup and resolve their conflict.

Explore the ROADMAP

FIND YOUR WAY – The Map is not the Territory

To use the Roadmap for crafting the structures of your story, you have to find out the main conflict of your narrative project. To do so you can just explore the map freely and read trough the conflict summaries, or you use the Compass.

Either way it's about finding out your character's WANT + NEED: His Goal and his Problem, the flaws he has to overcome to get there. Find your charater's problem: Ambition, Pride, Individualism or Conformity and combine it with one of the four thematic desires: Power, Peace, Truth or Status, to find out in which conflict your hero is engaging, and how his ideal antagonist has to be constructed to become a real opponent.

Only two differing opposing worldviews that seek for confirmation will create meaningful conflict. To better understand your character's psychological biases and motivations you can read through the principle that is guiding his actions and creating his problem. And to craft an interesting conflict you can do the same with the opposing principle for your antagonist.

Every conflict is shaped by the principles involved, and manifests in the way both characters seek to engage in relationship with one another: Killing, Knowing, Belonging, Winning, Becoming or Owning. Each of these conflicts bears its own thematic key aspects and emphasis. Stories often touch multiple themes, but their conflicts need to focus on one thematic core to stay coherent and touch our souls. That's why it's worth the effort to narrow it down and find out what your story is really about.

The framework provided by the Roadmap's conflicts, themes and deeper understanding of your characters psychological constitution will help you to stay true to your vision and to find and keep your way. The map is not the territory, but understanding both sides of your story will set you free to give your unique contemporary answers to these eternal human themes.

Explore the ROADMAP




Um geliebt zu werden folgt jeder Mensch seinen verinnerlichten Regeln von Gut und Böse. Er spielt den guten Helden einer Geschichte, die er seine Identität nennt. Aber solange er sich ausschließlich mit dieser Geschichte identifiziert, wächst in ihm auch eine Sehnsucht endlich wieder ganz er selbst sein zu dürfen.

Der kindliche Konflikt mit der Aussenwelt lebt also verinnerlicht im menschlichen Bewusstsein weiter, bis dieser Mensch beginnt sich selbst samt aller seiner vermeintlich bösen Aspekte zu lieben. weiter


Im Grunde geht es in allen Geschichten immer nur um diesen Grundkonflikt um Liebe und Bestätigung. Da aber jeder Mensch (und jeder Held) andere Aspekte seines Seins verdrängen oder unterdrücken musste, nimmt auch der innere Konflikt zwischen Gut und Böse ganz unterschiedliche Formen an. Thematisch lassen sich diese inneren "Ersatz-Konflikte" einteilen in die Bereiche: Macht (nicht spielen dürfen), Frieden (nicht fühlen dürfen), Wahrheit (nicht glauben dürfen), Status (nicht teilhaben dürfen).

Die Roadmap for Storyteller beschreibt, wie Genres dadurch entstehen, dass zwei dieser inneren Konflikte in einer Geschichte behandelt werden.

weiter zur ROADMAP
Toggle Labels

Explore Conflicts

Show Labels






emotional Principle


rational Principle


spiritiual Principle


social Principle


menschlicher Konflikt
KILLING the otherSurrender vs. Manipulation
psychological conflictIndependence + Recognition
Masterpiece Artist
Thriller Critic
BECOMING the otherRules vs. Individuality
ideological conflictMeaning + Tolerance
Fairy Tale Dreamer
Adventure Preacher
OWNING the otherJustice vs. Violence
political conflictControl + Legacy
Action           Crimefighter
Crime         Gangster
KNOWING the otherPossession vs. Acceptance
personal conflictFulfillment + Identity
Lovestory        Fan        
BELONGING to the otherProtection vs. Empathy
solidary conflictSurvival + Integrity
Lifedrama Outsider
Horror Gatekeeper
WINNING the otherPotential vs. Consciences
moral conflictSuccess + Justice
Detective Judge
Comedy Cheater