1. OculusNovelist
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    OculusNovelist New Member

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    Does Your Story Have A Contagonist?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by OculusNovelist, Jun 1, 2016.

    I have been researching things for my current novel to develop my characters and plot points, a point in my resarch, I came across a certain character known as the Contagonist. If you resarch this word, you will most likely come across small information. From my knowledge, I know that the Contagonist is very similar to your book's Antagonist, although this character is seen as the less threatening one and has the goal of 'delaying' your Protagonist from completing their mission. For Example: In one of my other Man-U-Scripts, I have a character (Rodoich) who is my Antagonist, but I then have a more innocent character (Larken) who is seen as someone who does not not wish to hurt your Protagonist, but thinks that them succeeding is not a very good idea, and tries to get that into their head. So does your story/novel hold a Contagonist?
     
  2. KevinMcCormack
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    KevinMcCormack Member

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    I have a feeling Contagionist a type of Antagonist. At least, the way I've seen Antagonist defined. (specifically: the Antagonist is the person who impedes the Protagonist from achieving his goal)

    It's not a rule that the Antagonist wants to 'hurt' the Protagonist. For example, in Casablanca, the Antagonist is Victor Laszlo, who seems to like Rick, but is a clear barrier to Rick and Ilsa's romance, on account of being married to her for one thing, and also for being an all around nice guy that Rick doesn't want to hurt. Nothing cock blocks better than genuine Nazi Resistance heroism.

    It sounds like the Contagionist's an Antagonist, with the special "tactic" of persuasion.
     
  3. izzybot
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    izzybot Human Disaster Contributor

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    I've never come across this term before. Sounds like what I'd call a miniboss - not the Big Bad, but a sizable obstacle. I wonder if comparisons could be made to The Dragon. I've definitely written characters like that before, especially in longer stories (a series, say) where actually facing the main antagonist is a ways off but there need to be 'smaller' villains along the way.
     
  4. Sifunkle
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    Sifunkle Dis Member

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    Just to flesh out what @OculusNovelist and @KevinMcCormack have both said: a contagonist is not the same thing as an antagonist, but is similar.

    Remember how an antagonist isn't necessarily a villain (i.e. isn't necessarily a moustache-twirling evildoer)? The antagonist is the character that tries to stop the protagonist achieving the story goal. So if you're writing fantasy and the story goal is for the protagonist to slay the dragon, then the dragon (not wanting to be slain) is likely to be the antagonist. If you're writing romance and the story goal is for the protagonist to settle down and start a family, then maybe the antagonist is a boss who doesn't want the protagonist diverted from his/her career.

    Now the contagonist doesn't necessarily try to stop the protagonist achieving the story goal, but is there to provide obstacles and slow him/her down. So in the fantasy story, maybe the contagonist is the local village that doesn't want the hero to raise the dragon's ire lest their crops burn (although they'd love to be rid of the dragon). In the romance, perhaps the contagonist is a one-night stand: not necessarily trying to stop the protagonist from settling down, but is distracting him/her from finding a more meaningful relationship.

    This is my understanding of the term anyway - I believe it's one that's mostly found in Dramatica theory (although not sure if that's where it originated). But similar characters had been turning up for ages prior to Dramatica - perhaps more often referred to as a 'trickster' or 'temptress' (archetypal characters).
     
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  5. Akarevaar
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    Akarevaar Member

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    Interesting thought. It seems to me that a 'contagonist' could also be on a protagonists 'team' in some cases. An ally who, unknowingly, impeeds the hero's journey. Perhaps by wanting to keep them too 'safe', thus stopping them from reaching their potential and completeing their journey.
     
  6. Robert_S
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    Robert_S Contributing Member

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    It's from the Dramatica theory of story craft. You'd need to read up on it.

    http://dramatica.com/theory/book
     
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  7. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    Never heard of it. What do all the people that get in the way of the protagonist count as? Speed bumps to be conquered before the final climb to the mountain summit perhaps? IDK.
    I try to throw plenty of minor antagonists onto the road in front of my protagonist, as well as mental hurdles to over come before reaching their goals. Though I guess it all depends. :p
     
  8. taariya
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    taariya Member

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    Never heard of it, but actually I think it could apply to my story.

    I have two villains at the moment. Gregor, eventually discovered to be a serial killer, is an immediate physical threat who outright wants to kill the protagonist. Fritz, Gregor's boyfriend, wants to goad the protagonist into killing Gregor and becoming his next romantic interest.

    Gregor is your run-of-the-mill antagonist, but Fritz is more along the lines of a Contagonist. He never explicitly harms the MC, yet he actively manipulates him to delay his discovery of Gregor's crimes, and Fritz' own involvement, until a later date so that he has time to seduce and trick him. He further derails the protagonist from his journey toward personal redemption and recovery from trauma by intentionally leading him into a situation where he's required to kill another human being. In general the guy is terrible, but he doesn't directly oppose the MC and comes across as quite friendly and helpful.
     
  9. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    Contagonist is a term dreamed up by the Dramatica people. Here's a definition.

    When I first saw your post, I thought it said 'contagionist' and my brain went off on a ramble and saw this as a character who brings contagion to the story in some form, perhaps by introducing an idea or action that becomes contagious and thus undermining the protagonist's efforts to fulfill a goal.
     
  10. IlaridaArch
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    IlaridaArch Active Member

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    My first thought was that Bold And The Beautiful doesn't have anything else than contagonists... :p

    Don't know really, based on this thread my contagonist isn't a person, but the world itself. But guess this is natural for setting driven story.
     
  11. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I love that word. I've never heard of the concept before. I just read a definition, or rather a comparison between contagonist and antagonist.

    Apparently a contagonist is a person or entitiy who either tempts the protagonist into not solving a problem, or hinders them from solving a problem. A contagonist can be either a distraction or an obstacle. This interference may or may not be intentional. The contagonist is not the main problem for the protagonist, although they are a lesser one.

    The antagonist causes the problem or actually IS the problem. The antagonist usually doesn't want the problem solved.
     

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