Irony Creates Conflict

To create greater conflict in any tory, use irony because irony makes events and situations more dramatic. Think of the big reveal in “The Empire Strikes Back” when Darth Vader reveals to Luke Skywalker that he’s Luke’s father.

That’s ironic because all this time, Luke wanted to know more about his father only to discover that his father is the one who’s trying to destroy freedom in the galaxy.

Think of any great movie and you’ll se irony brings characters together in conflict that forces them to resolve it. In “Casablanca,” Rick is trying to mind his own business when Ilsa. She isn’t just another woman but the one woman who broke his heart in the past.

Irony can take many forms. In “Titanic,” Rose is supposed to marry a rich man, which would seem to be every woman’s dream. Yet ironically she falls in love with a poor man instead who makes her feel like a real person while the rich man makes her feel like a mere possession.

In “Hustlers,” the irony is that a bunch of strippers are cheating men out of their money, but these men are Wall Street people who cheated Americans out of money by causing the crash of 2008. So the irony is who is really the con artists, the strippers or the Wall Street executives?

Whenever a scene in your own screenplay feels flat, look for ways irony can spice up the conflict. Irony can involve putting people with opposite characteristics together to force them into conflict.

In “Palm Springs,” a man is trapped in a time loop and forced to relive the same day over and over again. He’s gotten resigned to facing the same day with a sense of fatality, but then he accidentally gets a woman trapped in the same time loop with him.

Unlike him who has found ways to enjoy reliving the same day over and over again, this woman actively looks for a way out by taking online quantum physics classes until she learns the secret to breaking out of the time loop.

In a German movie called “Four Minutes,” irony appears when a rebellious woman prisoner turns out to be a gifted pianist.

So look for ways you can use irony to make your story more interesting. Chances are good the more irony you add, the more compelling your story will be.

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