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Find conflict for a big world?

The conflict makes the story worthy to read. – Especially, if you have a plot-driven story. But how can I find my story’s conflict? I have a world, which is as big as that world from Game of Thrones aka. a song of ice and fire. However, my protagonist won’t be nobles. They will be soldiers from the U.S. Army, who works for a space program. My idea is that they go apart and one of the four/five characters will discover one part of the world. So, what could be a conflict?
Skybreaker Sin K'al No. Just four or five protagonists.
Sorry, I thought you said they were soldiers? First off, I need some background information. Are your soldiers working for a sort of colonial space corps? Are there aliens in your new planet? If there are, are they long dead, or thriving? Do they have the same technology level as ours? All of these questions could help to generate conflict.
I usually sit a brain storm with plot, character and setting. How can setting conflict with character? Maybe everyone is having to go into the army and this conflict with the. character as he wants to send a message of peace (this is a world vs character conflict but also an internal character conflict so something like that is good). Religion maybe, government rules. But once I've done those things, I pick and couple then I brain storm external and internal conflict for my character.
Darkfantasy I have the setting. I have rough protagonists idea. But no conflict idea. And by the way, the protagonist is four or five U.S. soldier, who are stranded on the planet. But I know that my idea is plot-driven. So...

K.S. Crooks

I'm unclear on what you want for your story. You mention your characters are in the US army but in space...this tends to be Marines or Air Force. If it's the Army then they probably need a planet to go to and have some objective to accomplish (gather something, rescue someone, kill someone, destroy something, etc.). Who do you want the to oppose the soldiers- Other military, civilians, aliens, alien soldiers? Overall what is the objective of the characters, what is the setting and who is the opposition? If the characters are all separate what binds them in some manner or connects their stories together?
Like I said sit and brain storm, you need as much conflict as possible. So look and see what is naturally in your plot and develop it. Your character needs a clear goal. I'm not going to give you an idea as that needs to come from you. But look at ways plot, setting and character can conflict and cause problems for your character
I'd say develop each of those characters, first.

Once you know each soldier's personal foibles, motivations, frustrations, and so forth—not excluding how they really feel about each other, not to mention how they feel about their mission—you'll probably have some rich soil for planting conflict.

I'm also unclear about what these soldiers are doing there. I'm assuming it's some kind of exploratory mission, or perhaps a case of being stranded somewhere they didn't expect.

Edit: I'll explain. The BIG conflicts for a BIG world only gain meaning and force if the interior, personal conflicting states of the characters are tweaked during the unfolding of the plot. We as readers tend to care far more about how the characters are affected than by those objective, world-getting-blown-apart sorts of things.
For me, conflict is basically what happens when a person's desires run headlong into an exterior situation that frustrates fulfillment of those desires—loosely speaking, heh.

Some examples:

Cersei and Jaime desire to be together as a romantic and sexual couple, while maintaining their status quo, BUT their society (and her marriage, etc.) stand in the way of their being able to do that without fear of discovery and reprisal.

Arya wants to fight like a boy is allowed to fight, BUT her status quo as noble girl in the society stands in her way.

Sansa wants the fairy tale life of a princess (later, perhaps, queen) BUT developments are pushing her toward entanglement with a sadistic sociopath, and the world of GOT is anything but a romantic fairy tale type of land (i.e., all the political machinations, cut-throat realities.)

Tyrion wants the love and, much more importantly, respect that he believes he should receive from his father, BUT his father is the sort of person who will never accept him. Tyrion also wants romantic love, BUT his father always destroys his chances at a romantic relationship. (Other aspects of the environment keep standing in the way, also.)

Daenerys wants her birthright back, to return to her homeland and sit on the Iron Throne, BUT she is an outcast with little means, AND there are two continents' worth of political and military realities, and the people entrenched in those status quos, ready to slap her back down every step of the way.

And so forth.

As each person endeavors toward fulfillment of those goals, the world keeps interfering. These are the conflicts that make GOT so great to watch unfold.

However, each of these characters might have a slew of desires and goals; they're not one-note. So for instance, something as simple as Arya desiring to keep her direwolf can run smack-dab into that exterior force (Joffrey; the royal family). Of course, this also stems from her attack on Joffrey, i.e., her expressing her natural desire to fight when necessary, like a boy might.

Edit: After a little more thought, perhaps my characterization of Tyrion's basic conflict was a little too facile. I still think those aforementioned desires exist. But now I think his basic conflict is that he wants to be able to do whatever he wants—have that kind of freedom—and no longer be always treated like an outcast. He's not so much searching for a place in the society, a place where he can belong, except that he wants to belong to it while being himself, freely. And of course, so many things in that society (including his family, especially his father) stand in the way of that.
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Fifthview has hit the nail on the head.

Another thing I do is give my characters values that oppose another character. For example, my King is a bigot so I put a girl in front of him with the potential for power that rivals his own. Naturally, sparks fly.

Another thing I do is to put my characters is a situation that makes them decide a moral question. A famous example, a mother is told to choose which of her two children must die. Moral conflict is ripe for internal conflict. Give your characters questions that tears their morals in two.


Article Team
The conflict needs to be on a larger scale, which is easy to do with an army. Think invasions & war. Maybe plague or starvation. You can also split it up into sections. For example, my elven kingdom has 5 provinces. The southern most province had an issue with human invaders at their borders not too far before the story of book 1 comes to light. That province is barely getting itself back together again before the story conflict begins, so basically it's unstable. The readers aren't aware of any conflict happening in the rest of the world...at least not right away. The bigger issue is a group of power hungry mages wanting to overthrow the king's seat. So although the world at hand is threatened by political strife, the characters are dealing with a much more specific and individual set of circumstances. There is a plague that takes out the province featured in book 1. It will spread to the neighboring province in book 2 but doesn't go any farther than that. What I'm saying is, depending on how many books you are planning to write for your series, then the conflict only needs to be that big in scale.


Felis amatus
Figure out the basic rule of your story world. Now put your characters in conflict with that rule. This can happen on as epic or intimate scale as you like, depending on your vision of the story.


I can definitely sympathize with this. I tend to start from character conflicts, so thinking up external problems is always a tricky part of my process.
What always seems to help me is to figure out what it is I want to my characters to spend their time doing, and then come up with some external reason they have to do that thing. Your conflict has to match up with the kind of story you want to tell. For a long time, I had trouble plotting my stories because I would see I was missing external conflict, and then just throw a random evil overlord characters that sidetracked the story entirely.

I'm having trouble understanding exactly what it is you want to do with your story, so I'm not sure how much specific help I can give, but I'll try.
It sounds like you want to write something structured like an epic fantasy story, with a lot of point of view characters, a large scale plot and deep worldbuilding, but in a science fiction setting, (I haven't seen Stargate or Game of Thrones, so if you meant some other aspect of those that I missed, apologies) and you want to use your soldier characters to explore the world.
Why might they do that? Why are they there? Are they looking for something? Trapped? Scouting for colonization? Think of lots of answers and choose whichever one sounds most interesting to you. And then think of how the people in this world might get in the way of that.
Or, you can start from the other side. Try and flesh out their culture, see where the natural conflict spots are, and put your characters in the middle of them. The more you know about the setting and characters, the easier this will be.


The conflict makes the story worthy to read. – Especially, if you have a plot-driven story. But how can I find my story’s conflict? I have a world, which is as big as that world from Game of Thrones aka. a song of ice and fire. However, my protagonist won’t be nobles. They will be soldiers from the U.S. Army, who works for a space program. My idea is that they go apart and one of the four/five characters will discover one part of the world. So, what could be a conflict?

Battle an alien but not Alien. Or go mano-a-mano with a predator but not Predator. I'm joking.
One way to do it is look at how Tolkien did it--Middle-earth is huge, and the heroes only explore little parts of it while keeping the scope of it constantly in the background.