This week’s list is brought to you by the letter F:
According to Wikipedia: “a foil in fiction is a character who contrasts with another character (usually the protagonist) in order to highlight various features of that other character’s personality, throwing these characteristics into sharper focus.” Foils are usually trusty sidekicks or supporting characters, with qualities wildly different from the MC’s, yet complementary somehow. Since a compelling MC is nothing without a great supporting cast, a foil’s interactions with the MC can truly bring out and augment the MC’s personality.
Here is a list of my favourite foils in fiction, in no particular order:
1. Sancho Panza (fat, practical), foil to Don Quixote (skinny, dreamy)
3. Dr Watson (fat, middle-aged), foil to Sherlock Holmes (tall, lean)
I would like to think that I’ve created some pretty good foils for my MCs in my current WIPs:
In ORACLE, the MC’s younger brother is immature, loud and devil-may-care, as opposed to the MC’s quiet reservedness and vanity. Additionally, while the MC is a police detective, the brother is involved with the local gang and implicated in petty crimes.
In SOUND OF THE UNDERGROUND, I actually have two foils: the petite, blonde and tomboyish female MC, a police detective, has a best friend who is a gay fashion designer with an effervescent personality. The MC is also single, lives alone, and working hard for career progression, whilst her partner is a tall, sixty-plus male senior detective with a large family, cruising the final few years before statutory retirement.
What do you think of the foils in my WIPs? Have I missed out any significant foils from my list? Who are your favourite foils in fiction?