Monday, October 4, 2010

Writer's Weights: Foil Challenge (WW5)

Want to exercise your writing chops? This week's Writer's Weights challenge focuses on character. Answers to the challenge will be posted on Friday. If you use this exercise, post a link in the comments, and I'll update the post with your link. Everyone is welcome to participate.
There are several ways to show a character's traits. They can be shown to the character's actions, thoughts, and dialogue. However, an additional technique can be used to contrast the character's traits against another character. Using a character as a foil is a common method of showing this contrast where the foil is selected where one aspect of the character's behavior differs significantly from that of another character so that the reader sees the difference between these two characters and that difference becomes more obvious. This does not mean that those two characters need to be flat, the character can be well rounded yet have this difference in a particular aspect of the personality.

Foil characters have been used in many stories from Shakespeare (Hamlet and Laertes) to movies such as Star Wars with Han Solo and Chewbacca. Chewbacca's loyalty to Han Solo (occasionally with a little bit of complaining) contrasts with Han Solo who is willing to abandon the rebels to deal with his own needs.

The challenge: write a scene of 1000 words or less where two characters are used as foils. The theme for this week is: antenna.


  1. This is a good one. I've never consciously tried to create character foils, though two characters may be foils in specific situations. I'll see if I have time this week. It's still quite busy though, so I may not be able to participate.

  2. Unfortunately things are too busy for me right now but I already have an idea for next week's story :)

  3. I can understand the busyness. And I'll look forward to next week and hope it behaves itself a little better. :)