The Importance of Contradiction: Intro
Tonight I composed a scene in which my characters, as toddlers, had an altercation over a board game gone sour. Luckily, however, their grandpa came in to save the day… and advance the plot.
Conflicting dialogue between characters is an excellent way to captivate readers, develop characters, and change tone. Though it certainly takes a while to get it right, and one must to be ready to contradict themself!
When I first began “seriously writing” in 7th or 8th Grade (with the set-up of a genuine story, rather than jumbled ideas or projects left unfinished after the initial thrill) I had a hard time with this. I hadn’t an inkling how to develop characters and egocentrically determined that they should all be in my likeness.
Even after I had more practice, and attempted to develop character sheets (age, weight, hair color, hobbies, etc.) I still found it quite a challenge to keep the conversation moving, especially if there was an argument present. I simply couldn’t manage to fully place myself in the shoes of my characters. And I always seemed to get caught up in the details and lose track of my purpose.
Glory be to God, I had a breakthrough with 400 Years of Silence (originally when I wrote it as a duet), my first attempt at didactic reasoning via fictional prose.
Although, it begs the question, what changed? Was it simply a spiritual adjustment, or had my newfound approach served as the necessary push forward?
Around the time the story was written, I was still in High School and we were studying alternative worldviews to Christianity, which served to broaden my perspective and take note of things I hadn’t before. My characters went from skin deep to multilayered in personality, paving the way for more extensive dialogue and believable argumentation.
With that roadblock out of the way, everything else seemed to fall into place and here we are today.
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