Plot without conflict

I found this link via Metafilter. I think it is important.

Growing up I always loved anime, and I could never put my finger on why great films like Space Adventure Cobra, or Ninja Scroll felt so different to other movies.

Here is a choice paragraph from the linked article, The significance of plot without conflict:

For countless centuries, Chinese and Japanese writers have used a plot structure that does not have conflict "built in", so to speak. Rather, it relies on exposition and contrast to generate interest. This structure is known as kishōtenketsu.

What the article goes on to explain is the fundamental difference between Western three-act structure, and the four act one from the East.

I'm not suggesting that Eastern narratives have no conflict in them at all, rather that they are less concerned with thematic resolution derived from the conflict of the typical climax present in most of Western narrative. 

I think this is true, and nicely sums up the haunting, lingering mood great Eastern narratives can have. 


About me.


  1. Thanks for the link, very interesting article.

    Moody Writing
    The Funnily Enough

    1. Yes, I know -- the more I think about it the more certain I am that it will have implications for my own writing.

  2. That was an excellent article. Thanks for sharing.

    1. No worries Esther, I think this is an article I will be thinking about for some time.


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