Making characters interesting via contradiction

Nathan Bransford, one of TVWriter™’s favorite writers and writing consultants takes a very helpful look at characterization for all of us who write.

by Nathan Bransford

When you think of some of the most iconic characters in film and literature, there’s often an interesting contradiction at the heart of charater.

James Bond is capable of heroic action stunts, but he’s sauve and debonair.

Hannibal Lector eats people, but he can be charming and intelligent.

Dolores Umbridge is a strict rule follower, but her rule following leads her to pure evil.

What is it about characters like this? Why do we find them so palpable and memorable?

Why character contradictions work

The reason I think we find characters like this intriguing is twofold:

  • It feels true to life. We all contain multitudes, and a character who can’t be easily put in a box automatically feels more complex.

Read it all at Nathan’s blog.

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