Flip Your Characters To Twist A Plot

Flip Your Characters To Twist A Plot

Writers Write is a resource for writers. If you are looking for a way to twist a plot, why not flip your characters?

Human beings are made up of many parts, both psychological and physical. We are formed by genetics and circumstance and grow into the person we see in the mirror each day.

Along the way, we develop a variety of character traits. We may be quirky, angry, funny, gregarious, or reclusive, but one or some of these will be more dominant than the others. (Read 350 Character Traits)

We can use this as a powerful tool when we create a character.

Flip Your Characters To Twist A Plot

If our protagonist’s most predictable trait is unpredictability, we can change their story by flipping this trait. Turn them into the most dependable, boring person and see what happens.

A great example of this can be found in Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver. Dara and Nick used to be inseparable, but a devastating accident causes an icy rift between the two sisters.

  1. Beautiful, daring Dara has been left scarred, angry and isolated.
  2. The responsible sister, Nick, is now erratic, filled with self-loathing, and blames herself for her sister’s devastating injuries.

Oliver shows how these changes affect the choices the sisters make and how they upset everybody’s equilibrium.

Power Character Traits To Flip

You will know which trait is most dominant in your own characters. If you are unsure, I have included some of the most powerful qualities (both negative and positive) that make characters interesting below:

  1. Ambition
  2. Anger
  3. Charisma
  4. Compassion
  5. Complexity
  6. Courage
  7. Desire for revenge
  8. Determination
  9. Empathy
  10. Greed
  11. Intelligence
  12. Lust
  13. Nobility
  14. Originality
  15. Passion
  16. Prejudice
  17. Pride
  18. Resilience
  19. Ruthlessness
  20. Unpredictability

Why Do It?

As an author you could turn any of these around to cause a plot, move a plot forward, or end a story.

  1. If your character is a noble sort, turn them into a rogue.
  2. If they are courageous, make them fearful.
  3. If they are highly original in the way they dress, put them in blue jeans and a t-shirt.

Changing a character’s dominant trait makes them even more interesting. Every other character will want to know why. And so will we.

Must-Read: The Secret To Writing A Great Plot Twist

 by Amanda Patterson

Posted on: 25th April 2016