Pretentious – definition: assuming an air of great dignity or importance : pompous
As writers we strive to create believable and memorable characters. One way to do this is to study characters in movies or on TV that resonate. I found this great list of pompous characters, all of whom are well liked in their media situations but would certainly be difficult to actually live with in the ‘real’ world. Each of these characters have clearly defined personality traits, which make them well rounded personalities.
There are many methods that, as writers, we can use to form a character. One of the most common is a ‘character biography’ or ‘profile’. I have inserted a couple but you can always formulate your own. We can also utilize personality traits from people we know or even celebrities. A good deal of the information and back story we put into our character’s profile will never get onto the page but with our knowledge of them ensures our character reacts to the situations we put them into, in a ‘realistic’ way.
What method(s) do you use to form your characters?
Ambivalent – definition: uncertain or unable to decide about what course to follow
Ambivalence is widely viewed as a teenagers persona. Their conversation is liberally interspersed with ‘I don’t care’, ‘I’m bored’, ‘you don’t understand anything’, and many more. The ‘sudden’ change in a child for many parents is puzzling and frustrating. No matter what they say or do it is never ‘right’. The reason for the changes are due to new massive hormonal messages flooding the teenager’s brain in conjunction with the normal and current needs and experiences it has to process. In essence their brain is being reshaped, and reconstructed giving rise to personality changes and emotional instability.
It is essential that teenagers are exposed to encouraging, supportive and sound advice in this period as their personality will be shaped into their adult persona during this time. Negativity in any form will result in devastating results, whether physically, mentally or emotionally. The teenager years are the most venerable and it is the reason they need more love and encouragement. Let them experience new hobbies, research spirituality and get involved in organizations but with supervision and guidance. Above all love them.
Have you experienced the ‘teenager’ period? Are you in the midst of it?
Can you share tips on how to deal with a teenager?
For my own experience I encouraged new hobbies, sports and interests. Got to know their friends and hang outs. Ensured they understood I would collect them from anywhere at any time if they needed me to. Required a text so I knew they were safe and unharmed. And loved them fiercely. My son is now 21 years and a delight. My daughter is 17 and we are coping with her growing up with understanding and love.
When we write for this age group or create a character from it, we need to understand the workings of their minds. As with all research for novels, the more we understand the better our work will be.
Recognize these characters? Remember how irate poor Wile E Coyote would become with Road Runner? No matter what he did he never succeeded in catching his ‘dinner’. Beep, beep would ring out as yet another ACME kit damaged the coyote instead of the bird. It was truly a lesson in perseverance. No matter how many times the speedy bird escaped the coyote he would try, try, try again. I actually went past a road sign to Acme on my way to Canmore last weekend, wished I could have made a detour just for the fun of it.
The art of creating such lovable and memorable characters is what every author strives for. We hope our creations will stay in our readers minds long after the last page has turned. Character profiles and back story play a large part in ensuring our characters are well rounded and believable. We delve into their personality type seeking out traits and habits to make them react to their crisis situations in an authentic way.
Some may be based on people we know or a combination of several or from people watching – an author’s favorite pastime. As writers situations, overheard conversation and life in general is a constant source of inspiration.
Do you make up scenarios for people you observe? Have any made it in to a manuscript?
Sacrificial – definition: pertaining to sacrifice, or short-term loss for longer term gain
Once in a while we come across a character, who for whatever reason needs to be sacrificed. This is a hard choice because we have invested time and effort into their development. This link explains some of the reasons.
My novel, The Twesome Loop, has quite an array of characters, mainly because it is dealing with two time periods. There are four main characters, which ‘overlap’ in each era. I had to apply similar characteristics to each of them, so my readers would come to realize who was who in each era
I detailed their personality traits in similar ways, taking into account the differences expected in each culture. It was the obnoxious male character that became the easiest to recognise!