Compelling stories thrive on irony

Tags: Writing

According to Matt Bird, readers are attracted to irony in fiction. Three examples include:

  • A protagonist with an ironic backstory
  • An ironic contrast between the character's interiority and external presentation
  • A character with a flaw that is an ironic reversal of their greatest strength
  • A scene in which the result reverses the intentions of the protagonist's intention

Louise Dean adds that a great story hook thrives on irony that emerges from the character's fatal flaw. She suggests examining a character's profession as a font of irony. For example, a teacher who becomes a pupil, or a police officer who is a criminal.


Bird 2016 Corbett 2013 Novelry 2020