Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Characters and Contrast

Sometimes writing becomes boring and if your writing bores the writer, just think of the yawns the readers will have. One way to avoid this is to use contrast when developing your story. I've used this in a number of ways.

You can have two main characters who contrast each other - Often this is the case with protagonist and antagonist. Doesn't always have to be that way. I once used a hero and heroine with contrasting natures. She wanted a home. He wanted to roam. Needless to say this made for some interesting scenes between the two. To this I added people who wanted him to stay and gave him a reason that conflicted with his desire to be a rolling stone.

Even a character can have contrasting goals. Contrast wanting to be rich with a not wanting to hurt or use other people.

Just what does contrast do. It intensifies the story, gives variety and interest, shows the dark and light. and breaks monotony.

Other ways of doing this are through the use of names, physical characteristics. I've alswys thought James Bond was a great name suggesting a bond with the good. How about Dr. No. Could anything be better for showing a character's nature.

You can use contrast by giving a character an environment that isn't one he's comfortable in. There is the contrast betwen the action and the motivation. Take someone who murders but not because of hatred or anger but to save someone's life. A murderer yes, but a bad person, no. A fellow writer used this premise in a book to show the effect this had on the character. Reconstructing Charlie is the title of the book.

So look at what you're working on and find ways to use contrast to up the ante and turn boring int intriguing.


Shoshanna Evers said...

Great post Janet! I'll be sure to check out Reconstructing Charlie!

Liz said...

Thanks for a great post