December 21st, 2011

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Writing Excuses 6.29: Writing Character Foils

Writing Excuses 6.29: Writing Character Foils

From: http://www.writingexcuses.com/2011/12/18/writing-excuses-6-29-character-foils/

Key Points: A foil is a character who highlights the features of another character's personality through contrast with their own character. E.g. Straight man and comedian. Buddies, like the straitlaced older guy and the crazy loose cannon guy. Holmes and Watson: eccentric versus common sense or Superman and Everyman. Plucky sidekick and hero, like Batman and Robin. Wise mentor and young apprentice. Siblings. Villain and protagonist! Why build a foil? When your main character is missing something. Or to externalize an internal conflict. Consider reciprocation -- what does the foil gain from the other character? Make sure your foil has a character arc, a reason to be there, something to contribute to the story besides being just the comic relief.
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[Brandon] Yup. All right. This has been a great podcast. I think since Mary's been bragging a little bit... You're going to have to give us...
[Mary] Doomed!
[Brandon] No, we love you Mary. You haven't been bragging. You were rightly proud of your short story. Will you give us a writing prompt?
[Mary] Yes. What I want you to do is, I want you to come up with a list of five character pairs. Then pick the one that is most interesting to you and write about them.
[Brandon] All right. Thank you all for listening. This has been Writing Excuses. You're out of excuses, now go write.