I admit it–sometimes I enjoy those little internet meme quizzes. For example, recently I took one meant to determine which character from “Heroes” you’re most like. I prefer these quizzes when they’re long enough and the questions are interesting enough that you can’t necessarily see what your result will be just from glancing at the quiz, and this one was decent. After I finished I got a result telling me that I’d had a tie between two characters: Hiro and Sylar, the most innocent character and the most viciously psychotic. Now if that isn’t a result to make you blink a few times in confusion, I don’t know what is. It got me to thinking, though–while archetypal characters are interesting, it’s also interesting to explore characters that embody things that you think wouldn’t go together.
Today, make a list of some things you’d normally think of as opposites or as mutually exclusive; these can be–but don’t have to be–personality traits. For example:
- kind, selfish
- precise, scattered
- loud, quiet
Alternatively, you can include pairs of characters from television or books that you think of as particularly different; preferably pick characters from the same show or book. For example:
- Hiro and Sylar from “Heroes”
- Teal’c and Hathor from “Stargate SG-1”
- Drs. House and Wilson from “House”
In this latter case, list out a few personality traits that make these characters so different from each other.
Finally, explore a character that embodies one of these pairs of opposites in some way. Obviously he wouldn’t have all of the traits of, say, Hiro and Sylar, but he’d have a few here and there. You can write about this character directly or write a story about him.