Saturday, November 18, 2017

Why Your Story Needs Parallels

I AM ALIVE AND AWAKE AND WELL AND IT IS OFFICIALLY THANKSGIVING BREAK, Y'ALL!!!! (PSA: There are going to be a LOT of posts next week. Like, almost every day. One tour, one party, two announcements... just an FYI. Consider it my reaction to #FREEDOM. 😁)

Today, I am talking parallels! Parallels/ironies are huge deals that can add SO MUCH. This is usually the point at which I'd discuss why your story needs them, but... that's sort of the whole point of the post. 😉 So read on and enjoy.* 😄

*I mean, you don't NEED to enjoy this post... but it is the recommended course of action. No pressure, though. 😜


Ever heard of a foil? Foils reflect another character's (usually the protagonist) morals, standards, weaknesses, and strengths. Where one character is strong and courageous, the foil is weak and cowardly. Where the character feels hopelessly lost, the foil feels a sense of guidance.

Parallels are just the same as foils.

If one couple is overjoyed with their coming child, there might be a single, pregnant woman who fears for her future. If a poor but sincere man proposes to his sweetheart, a lonely yet wealthy man might inherit a title and estate, thus adding to his already great fortune. Where one couple's marriage might crumble, another's might be strengthened.


Besides reflecting other characters' situations and increasing the tension between them, parallels also display the raw, gritty emotions the characters already feel. A continuation of mirroring, parallels serve to prove these emotions true, like foils work as evidence for the protagonist's virtues.


Say the single woman from the first reason learns of the couple's pregnancy. Or the poor man of the wealthy man's riches. Or the lonely man of the sincere man's happiness. Or the first couple of the second's empowerment. Parallels increase conflict and add the potential for jealousy. And nothing makes a story more enjoyable than heightening the risk. 😉

Granted, not every story needs parallels. And sometimes they're just not helpful to throw in. But, when available, they sure are fun to work with. 😁

Thank you so much for reading! Tell me: have you ever worked with parallels/ironies before? Have you ever found them in fiction?



  1. I needed this post right now. So helpful! I've seen parallels in books many times, but never written one myself. YAY! THANKSGIVING BREAK!

    ~ Ella Marie

  2. Hmm! Never really worked with parallels/foils, really. I can definitely see where they can be useful!



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