Incongruities can be great story starters, plot generators, and keys to characterization. According to, something that is incongruous is:

1. out of keeping or place; inappropriate; unbecoming …
2. not harmonious in character; inconsonant; lacking harmony of parts …
3. inconsistent

Things that are out of place make you question why? or how? For example, the other day I saw a fancy convertible. Its top was up, and a kayak was strapped to the top. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a kayak or the like strapped to the top of such a car before, and it made me wonder what sort of people were driving that car.

Things that are out of place can also lend instant three-dimensional characterization to an otherwise flat character. A stoic, stern warrior who doesn’t like to show his emotions is nothing new, but what if when in bed with his beloved he finally smiles and laughs every bit as playfully and happily as she does?

Today, create or find an incongruity and use it to brainstorm a character or story premise.

Roleplaying games build character

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