Improbable #atozchallenge

Fictional character traits

Improbable – questionable, incredible

I see this as the improbable but effective character who starts as an antihero and plunges straight toward villainy or grows into the barely tolerable type.

Jake Gyllenhaal in Nightcrawler 

The movie is a noirish thriller, interesting mostly for being built around an improbable character. As the guy who records and sells violent footage, even his eyes have dispensed with blinking, afraid he’d miss the money shot. Filming the dying with no emotional investment is incredible, isn’t it? 

Often, this is the fictional character the writer disposes with, either by killing or sending him off into the night. He doesn’t have to be a thoroughly bad person, just ridiculously off enough to understand his improbable existence was designed as sacrifice for a cause or another character.

Take the Mitch Rapp series by Vice Flynn.

Stan Hurley is the old man handling CIA recruits, the great Mitch Rapp among them. Hurley is a pushy old man, understandably unlikable yet tolerable because Mitch’s future is in his hands.

When Hurley is written off, we feel his purpose in the series was designed for this very reason: create a horrible situation for all characters involved then have Hurley save the day.  He was too improbable to last. This day, we felt, was coming. That takes planning, vision. Or is it pure dumb luck? Well, luck is a factor, but when luck is converted into something valuable, the writer demonstrated skill, and that takes planning. Practice.

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Image: pixabay, metacritic

20 responses to “Improbable #atozchallenge

  1. I don’t where to start. I admit you have incredible and creative post!!

  2. Thank you for reminding me of Nightcrawler – that movie and Jake Gyllenhaal’s character stayed with me for days afterwards.

  3. Jake G. can play some oddball characters–such a good actor. Also, I have only read one Vince Flynn novel and it was great. I was sad that he died so young.

  4. I have just finished reading Baldacci’s THE CAMEL CLUB composed of four highly intelligent but beyond quirky personalities who figure out who in the White House is messing with our intelligence and attempting to create war by kidnapping the president. The characters are off-the-wall incredible.

  5. I can’t think of any improbable characters I’ve either read or seen in a movie. Clearly I need to step up my game in this area. I’ll start with the movie and series you mentioned. Thanks, Silvia.

  6. I don’t know the series or the film you mention Silvia but I like improbable characters! Although in the context of the film they become more credible if the script writing is good. Interesting post thanks!

  7. I, too, really enjoy a great improbable character as long as s/he remains believable. I have been known to groan aloud in disgust when a book or movie pushes a character into eye-rolling territory :-)

  8. Hmm, I’m reminded of Ed Norton’s character from Birdman who is quirky and intelligent at first but quickly becomes a villain.

  9. I’m really enjoying your A-to-Z posts. I didn’t join this year, because I was afraid I might run out of time. Still, I’m reading quite a few blogs and hoping to find a few to follow. Keep writing!

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