Without conflict, there isn’t story. Conflict is when your characters are established and then bad things happen to them. The more bad things the better. Conflict drives action. Conflict molds characters. Simply having a character go about their routine isn’t action, isn’t story, and won’t generate conflict.

Write conflict into your story as early as you can. Write conflict into the first line if at all possible. Your reader will not be able to help but read the second sentence if there’s compelling conflict in the first.

Go re-read your favorite short stories or novels. Conflict is the engine. Sometimes it’s psychological and has physical results. Sometimes it’s physical and has psychological results. Regardless, the conflict is what drives the plot forward and alters the characters. And if the plot sags, conflict is what injects energy once again.