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Inspiration Decks Character Traits 2023-12-02 00:00

Character Trait: Contrary

Character Trait Contrary

To engage your reader, it's important to always show not tell the traits of your characters. The character trait Contrary refers to a person who is always inclined to do the opposite of what is expected or desired. Such a person may have a tendency to disagree with others and to challenge established norms and beliefs. This trait can manifest in a variety of ways, from being stubborn and argumentative to being skeptical and critical. Contrary characters can add depth and complexity to a story, as they are often unpredictable and can create conflict and tension.

Contents:
  1. Possible causes of being contrary
  2. Behaviors associated with being contrary
  3. Attitudes associated with being contrary
  4. Thoughts and struggles associated with being contrary
  5. Emotions associated with being contrary
  6. Facial expressions associated with being contrary
  7. Body language associated with being contrary
  8. Behaviors associated with being contrary
  9. Growth and evolution of contrary characters
  10. Stereotypes of contrary characters to avoid
  11. Negatives of being contrary
  12. Positives of being contrary
  13. Verbal expressions of contrary characters
  14. Relationships of contrary characters
  15. Examples from books of characters who are contrary
  16. Writing exercises for writing contrary characters

Possible causes of being contrary

You might want to weave these into your character's back story to build a more believable character.

  • A desire for independence and autonomy
  • A fear of vulnerability or intimacy
  • A need to challenge authority or societal norms
  • A history of being misunderstood or marginalized
  • A sense of superiority or intellectualism
  • A tendency to question everything and seek alternative perspectives
  • A need to protect oneself from emotional harm by pushing others away
  • A preference for being different or unique
  • A need for control or power in relationships

For detailed feedback on contrary characters and other aspects of your writing, try ProWritingAid's critique report.

Behaviors associated with being contrary

You may be able to show your character's trait of contrary by using these.

  • Being unpredictable or inconsistent
  • Doing the opposite of what is expected
  • Arguing for the sake of arguing
  • Taking an opposing stance on issues
  • Disagreeing with others just to be different
  • Going against the grain
  • Refusing to follow rules or norms
  • Challenging authority or conventions
  • Being stubborn or obstinate

Attitudes associated with being contrary

You may be able to show contrary through their attitudes.

  • Skepticism
  • Critical thinking
  • Nonconformity
  • Disagreeableness
  • Unpredictability
  • Challenge-seeking
  • Oppositional
  • Defiance
  • Stubbornness
  • Independence

Thoughts and struggles associated with being contrary

Here are some ideas for things your contrary character may think or struggle with.

  • Contrary characters are often characterized by their tendency to take the opposite stance or position than what is expected or conventional.
  • At the same time, Contrary characters may also feel a sense of pride or satisfaction in their ability to think independently and stand up for their beliefs.
  • They may have a desire to challenge authority or question the status quo, leading to conflict with others.
  • They may also struggle with a sense of purpose or direction, as their Contrary nature can make it difficult to find a clear path forward.
  • A Contrary character may struggle with feelings of isolation or alienation as a result of their unconventional beliefs or behavior.
  • In terms of relationships, Contrary characters may struggle to connect with others who do not share their Contrary tendencies, or may find themselves drawn to other Contrary individuals who share their worldview.

Emotions associated with being contrary

Here are some ideas for emotions your contrary character may experience.

  • Argumentative
  • Rebellious
  • Noncompliant
  • Obstinate
  • Defiant
  • Perverse
  • Disagreeable
  • Stubborn
  • Uncooperative

Facial expressions associated with being contrary

Here are some facial expressions your contrary character may exhibit.

  • Raised eyebrows
  • Frown lines between the eyebrows
  • Raised chin
  • Crossed arms
  • Tilted head
  • Raised voice or tone
  • Smirk or sneer
  • Squinted eyes
  • Clenched jaw
  • Raised upper lip
  • Rolled eyes
  • Tightened lips

Body language associated with being contrary

Here is some body language your contrary character may exhibit.

  • Pouting or sulking when things don't go their way
  • Arguing for the sake of arguing
  • Interrupting or talking over others
  • Taking an opposing stance on almost everything
  • Ignoring or dismissing others' opinions
  • Refusing to compromise or negotiate
  • Passive-aggressive behavior
  • Rolling eyes or crossing arms when asked to do something
  • Deliberately doing the opposite of what is expected

For detailed feedback on contrary characters and other aspects of your writing, try ProWritingAid's critique report.

Behaviors associated with being contrary

Here are some behaviors your contrary character may exhibit.

  • Being unpredictable or inconsistent
  • Refusing to follow rules or norms
  • Being stubborn or obstinate
  • Taking an opposing stance on issues
  • Disagreeing with others just to be different
  • Arguing for the sake of arguing
  • Doing the opposite of what is expected
  • Challenging authority or conventions
  • Going against the grain

Growth and evolution of contrary characters

Here are some ways that your contrary character may grow and evolve over time.

  • Cultivating a sense of humility and recognizing that they are not always the smartest or most knowledgeable person in the room
  • Recognizing the value of compromise and cooperation
  • Learning to trust others and rely on them for support and guidance
  • Learning to listen to others and consider their perspectives
  • Becoming more open-minded and less rigid in their thinking
  • Gaining a better understanding of the consequences of their actions and words
  • Letting go of the need to always be right or have the last word
  • Becoming more self-aware and reflective
  • Developing empathy for others and their experiences

Stereotypes of contrary characters to avoid

Try to avoid writing stereotypical contrary character like these examples.

  • Avoid making the Contrary character seem inconsistent or unpredictable without reason.
  • Avoid making the Contrary character seem rude or disrespectful without justification.
  • Avoid making the Contrary character seem unlikable or unsympathetic to the reader.
  • Avoid making the Contrary character come across as just being difficult for the sake of being difficult.

Negatives of being contrary

Here are some potential negatives of being contrary. Note: These are subjective and some might also be seen as positives depending on the context.

  • Being contrary can lead to a lack of cooperation and teamwork, as people may not want to work with someone who always opposes their ideas
  • Being argumentative and disagreeing with others for the sake of it can be seen as annoying or frustrating
  • Being contrary can make it difficult to make decisions or reach agreements, as the person may always argue against any proposed solutions
  • Being contrary can also lead to a lack of trust, as people may see someone who always disagrees as insincere or untrustworthy

Positives of being contrary

Here are some potential positives of being contrary. Note: These are subjective and some might also be seen as negatives depending on the context.

  • Being contrary can challenge the status quo and lead to fresh perspectives and ideas.
  • Being contrary can lead to a healthy skepticism and a desire for evidence-based reasoning.
  • They often possess a strong sense of individuality and self-awareness.
  • It can help individuals think critically and analyze situations from different angles.
  • Contrary individuals tend to be independent thinkers who are not afraid to voice their opinions and stand up for what they believe in.
  • Contrary individuals are often very creative and can bring unique ideas to the table.

Verbal expressions of contrary characters

Here are some potential expressions used by contrary characters.

  • "I'm not going to conform."
  • "You're wrong."
  • "No, that's not how it is."
  • "I'm going to challenge your ideas."
  • "I'm not going to follow the crowd."
  • "I don't think that's a good idea."
  • "I'm going to do it my way."
  • "I disagree."
  • "I don't see it that way."

Relationships of contrary characters

Here are some ways that being contrary could affect your character's relationships.

  • Contrary people may struggle to form close relationships with those who lack open-mindedness or the ability to see things from different perspectives.
  • They may also be seen as stubborn or difficult to work with by those who prefer to follow a clear plan or hierarchy.
  • They may gravitate towards individuals who share their unconventional views and values, forming close bonds with those who appreciate their unique perspective.
  • Contrary people may often challenge the status quo and go against the norm, leading to potential conflicts with those who value tradition and conformity.

Examples from books of characters who are contrary

  • Scarlett O'Hara from "Gone with the Wind" by Margaret Mitchell
  • Severus Snape from the "Harry Potter" series by J.K. Rowling
  • Lisbeth Salander from "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" by Stieg Larsson
  • Dr. Hannibal Lecter from "The Silence of the Lambs" by Thomas Harris
  • Holden Caulfield from "The Catcher in the Rye" by J.D. Salinger
  • Jay Gatsby from "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Tyler Durden from "Fight Club" by Chuck Palahniuk
  • Holden from "The Expanse" series by James S. A. Corey
  • Patrick Bateman from "American Psycho" by Bret Easton Ellis

Writing exercises for writing contrary characters

Here are some writing exercises you might try for learning to write contrary characters.

  • Create a backstory for your character that explains why they developed a contrary streak. Was there a particular event or person who influenced them? How has this trait helped or hindered them in life?
  • Create a dialogue between your character and someone who represents their opposite. How do they interact? Do they clash, or do they find common ground?
  • Write a scene where your character is faced with a decision that goes against their usual nature. How do they react? Do they struggle with the decision, or do they surprise themselves by making the contrary choice?
  • Write a character study of someone who has a completely different worldview than your character. What can your character learn from them? Are there any similarities between the two, despite their differences?
  • Write a monologue from your character's perspective, reflecting on a time when they went against the grain. What motivated them to do so? How did it feel to be the odd one out?
  • Write a scene where your character is forced to work with someone who they strongly disagree with. How do they handle the situation? Do they find a way to work together, or do things escalate?
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