Well, I'm back after slacking over the Thanksgiving holiday, and its now time to discuss the second act of the three act structure, the Conflict.
Once your story is set up and you've established a tone, conflict must be introduced. Your protagonist needs something interesting to happen to him (or her).
Let's use Star Wars as an example because most people are familiar with the story. After we are introduced to Luke Skywalker, we get to follow him around for a while, meet his Uncle and Aunt, and get a glimpse of what life is like on a moisture farm on Tatooine. Can you imagine how boring this movie would have been if we continued to follow Luke around for two hours as he performed menial tasks on the farm?
To keep things interesting to the viewers, conflict needed to be introduced. The evil galactic Empire showed up and murdered Luke's family, giving him the final push he needed to run off and join the rebellion, and the rest as they say, is history.
Once some sort of conflict is introduced in your story, your characters are given a problem or a series of problems to solve. This transition into conflict doesn't have to be as drastic as someone's family being killed, but if we like and can sympathize with the protagonist then we care about what happens to him and are pulling for him in whatever kind of conflict there is.
This second act is the largest one, encompassing the majority of the story until a climax is reached and we transition into the resolution of the story, which we'll talk about next time.