From the online Merriam Webster Dictionary Paradox is defined as:
: something (such as a situation) that is made up of two opposite things and that seems impossible but is actually true or possible
: someone who does two things that seem to be opposite to each other or who has qualities that are opposite
: a statement that seems to say two opposite things but that may be true
Two things that are opposites or that don’t normally go together.
This is essentially a problem, if you were trying to force them together right?
Well, before you even think of a story, think of how difficult you can make it right from the start.
For example, what if….
There was a mermaid, who fell in love with a human? Boom! Immediate conflict, since it’s physically impossible for her to be on land with the human, right?
Think of a character:
Now let’s think of the typical attributes of these characters:
Pirate: Loud/Flashy/Sails on Water
Now throw them into a situation that is the polar opposite of what we expect:
A Sloth who wanted to win a race.
A Dinosaur who wanted be small and dainty like a ballerina.
A Princess who wasn’t dainty or fancy (but wanted to be.)
A Monster who wasn’t mean and scary (but tried to be.)
A Pirate who was afraid of water (but wanted to sail.)
Or simply think of a character and give them the direct opposite of what they want. It doesn’t have to be directly to related to their attributes.
A character who wants to dance, but is clumsy.
A boy who wants to be a cowboy, but has absolutely no cowboy bones in his body at all.
How about polar opposites in Unlikely Friendships:
Nugget and Fang (A shark and a minnow.)
Penguin and Pinecone
Wooby and Peep: “Wooby lives in a nice, quiet neighborhood where everyone minds his own business. And he likes it that way. Then noisy, energetic Peep moves next door with her banging and smashing and crashing. She even gives a “wild” PARTY! “
You could give the characters the polar opposites in setting.
A girl who lives in the country that wanted to star on broadway.
A poodle that lives in NYC that wants to be a farmer.
A penguin who wants to go to the beach, get a tan, and learn to surf.
A snake from the desert who loves to wear coats and hats and mittens.
Below, I’ve created a document for your paradoxical idea generation. Fill out the character box by thinking of characters you want. Use Grant Snider's advice, especially if using animals. And think of some underused animals. (Plus, check out his facebook page and like it! I know you will. )
When listing attributes think of the typical attributes this character would have. You can also use this box to think of a typical want this character would normally have and then think of the opposite attributes or wants. Below is an example.
Have you ever used a paradox to discover an idea before? (Now what kind of paradox could work with a pair of ducks? Hmmmm....? )
We are so excited to be mixing things up at the Children's Book Academy. Mondays with Mandy or Mira is now the Blogfish!!
Here's our lineup:
1st Mondays will feature award-winning former agent and former kidlit professor Mira Reisberg PhD who is also the Director of the Children's Book Academy.
2nd Mondays will feature reading specialist and MFA in creative writing graduate Mandy Yates has been published multiple times in Highlights Magazine.
3rd Mondays will feature Bryan Patrick Avery, published writer, man of mystery, and professional magician among other things.
4th Mondays will feature the great Christine Taylor-Butler who has published over 70 award-winning fiction and non-fiction and nonfiction books including the acclaimed new middle grade series - The Lost Tribes.
And 5th Mondays will feature will feature the fabulous Carl Angel, award-winning multi-published Illustrator and graphic designer.
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