I've spent many years as an actor at Renaissance faires and one of my recollections was an improvisation workshop that touched on dramatica theory. When I heard an interview on the topic of writing and archetypes this piqued my curiosity and hence this week's exercise. I don't necessarily advocate dramatica, but the goal of this week's challenge is to increase the participants in your stories.
A contagonist is an archetype like a protagonist, a lead character in the story, or an antagonist, the character opposed to what the protagonist is trying to achieve. The contagonist opposes the protagonist but unlike the antagonist, the contagonist is more interested in deflecting or delaying the protagonist. Contagonists can be in league with the antagonist or they can be even allied with the protagonist but not providing much help for that character.
Examples of contagonists include: Darth Vader from Star Wars, Detective Captain Fache from The Da Vinci Code, and Mal from Inception. Darth Vader is probably the most commonly discussed and several of the further research links described that. Skip to the next paragraph if you're concerned about spoilers and haven't seen Inception. Mal is Cobb's (Leonardo DiCaprio's) wife and she makes a good example of a contagonist because her goal isn't to oppose Cobb's attempt to implant a memory but rather to distract Cobb and trap him inside a dream.
The challenge: write a scene of 1000 words or less that includes a contagonist. The theme: lightning.