Who’s sick of hearing about my book promotions? I know I am. Let’s talk about unexpected contrast in our writing.
I love contrast, even to the point of conflicting with reader expectations. Writers should always be willing to move from daylight to darkness, from cheer to gloom. I love the final battle on Endor as an example of unexpected contrast. The Empire, with all its technology is up against a bunch of Ewoks with rocks and sharp sticks. We expect the worst, but that isn’t how it played out.
Bad guys with names like Hannibal Lechter are pretty common. What about a handsome hunk called Matt Stone, with blond hair and a White House behind a picket fence. When Matt turns out to be a maker of snuff porn, we get a little jolt as readers. I like the little jolt. It reflects a bit of real life into the story. Lizzie Borden and Ted Bundy don’t sound like scary characters, and they were real.
What if the computer hacker who can do anything online has to solve the key plot point by reading through a pile of ancient scrolls? I like the contrast. The guy is perfectly prepared for the wrong situation.
Why can’t the demon be a female named Britt?
Who didn’t love the swordsman displaying his skills with a huge scimitar? Indiana Jones shot him and moved on. I was there in the theatre the day it was released. The whole crowd cheered.
I’ve seen plenty of full moons in broad daylight. I’ve never seen a werewolf out then. This I can handle, because humans are at a disadvantage in the dark. Our characters should always be at a disadvantage.
Why can’t witchcraft involve microwaves and stick blenders. (Okay, I did this, but I’m not ready to tell you about it.)
Technology vs ancient. Light vs dark. Cold vs hot. Sexy vs ugly. There are times when this can become a trope, but it can also be a nice tool.
I like the idea that Princess Fiona became an ogre and not the other way around. Doc Brown had to find a way to use lightning to power the deLorean. Contrast tech vs nature.
It’s Wednesday so I’m posting. This one would be a lot more fun with some discussions. Weigh in folks. Do you love or hate contrast in stories? Why?