Conflicted Characters

By Annette Rey

When Opposites Make Sense

Can Sigmund Freud’s beliefs help you create scenarios for your characters? I think so.

I found an article with a provocative lead sentence. What if you hated someone who you were socially and morally expected to love? (link below)

Does that question intrigue you and make you want to dig deeper?

Say you’re writing about a showy mother who overly dotes on her child? Is she sincere? Or is this display really a mask for how much she really hates the child and just can’t admit that to the world, or herself?

Or you have a religious character who vocalizes against sin while harboring secret sinful desires and perhaps acts on them?

Maybe you want to write about a sickeningly sweet female who acts devoted to her girlfriend when all along she is insanely jealous of her.

These are examples of opposite emotions, something called reaction formation, an ego defense mechanism that protects us from our real feelings. Dr. Perry, the writer of this blog (, begins the clarification process of this concept.

Now that you have been made aware of this, you can research more information about it. Increasing your knowledge of psychological aspects of human nature will enable you to accurately depict them in your enriched characters. Information like this will give you scene and story ideas as well.

Continue enlarging your psychological repertoire. Writer’s block will become a thing of your past.

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