1. Chris Gentry
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    Chris Gentry Member

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    A Strong Character

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Chris Gentry, Jun 16, 2011.

    I have read a lot of threads on here about characters but it seems like I am missing something.
    What is strength? What makes a character strong?
    The Character can be male or female, hero or villain, doesn't matter to me, what makes it strong?
     
  2. M. J. Demsworth
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    M. J. Demsworth New Member

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    No one can decide that but the writer. What makes a character strong varies with the plot of the story as well as the attributes of the other characters. And then you have to figure out if you want your character to be strong physically, emotionally, or mentally. Perhaps even all of the above. One thing I would suggest is to never make a character (good or bad) invincible. They should have one or more weaknesses that can make them just as vulnerable as everyone else.
     
  3. Quezacotl
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    Quezacotl Contributing Member

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    A strong character is one that is fleshed out very well and has a balance of strengths and weaknesses, personality-wise. They are characters that have a personality of their own, and are not an incarnation of an author's fantasies - a strong character is not a Mary Sue.
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    There are many axes upon which you can define strength: physical prowess, tolerance of pain, moral certainty, emotional control, unwavering loyalty or love, etc.

    It is up to the writer to decide which of those is paramount and will elevate his or her central character.
     
  5. Kio
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    Kio Contributing Member

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    To be honest, being strong is a relative matter. I'll just list out what I believe is associated with being strong when it comes to personality:

    -Tenacity
    -Determination
    -Ability to adapt
    -Resourcefulness
    -Balanced

    That's all I can think of. This list is made up of all the traits that many people might consider strong. I can't speak for whatever audience you're aiming for, but this is what I believe is generally considered part of a strong character. In the end, it's really up to the writer.
     
  6. Ice Queen
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    Ice Queen Senior Member

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    A strong character is a memorable one. Give them a good mix of personality points; make them have morals (or not) and make them have a clear line of what they can tolerate; physically, mentally, emotionally. Give them goals, give them petty dislikes, give them prejudices and give them a sense of goal. What would your character die for? Love? Duty? Honour? Ideals? Know what stirrs them and what breaks them. Make them both good and bad. If your character is a good guy, taint him with something not-so-nice and let him keep the not-so-nice attribute. If your character is a bad guy; give him something that makes us actually care whether he dies- give him good points!

    All in all- make them people.
     
  7. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Keep in mind that "strong" does not mean "perfect". Even the strongest characters have (or should have) flaws, blind spots through which they can be hurt. In fact, that's usually what makes their stories worth telling.
     
  8. ImaginaryRobot
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    ImaginaryRobot Member

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    No matter how you define a character's strength it should be tested at some point in a story and in isolation be inadequate to completely overcome the challenge. Beowulf is a good example. He fights three monsters, each stronger than the previous one, and when he fights the last, his strength is not enough to defeat the monster alone.

    Of course, Beowulf's strength is quite literally his strength (and his courage), but this is just a quick example and I happen to have Beowulf in front of me.

    Another tactic is to have a character's strengths revealed by the tests. Don't hate me for this, but the example that sprang to mind was Harry Potter.

    Too late, I hate myself now.

    The point is that often strength is defined by what obstacles the character has to overcome.
     
  9. Chris Gentry
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    Chris Gentry Member

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    Thanks a lot. Your posts are helpful.
     
  10. Gigi_GNR
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    Gigi_GNR Guys, come on. WAFFLE-O. Contributor

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    Strong characters to me are the ones that can endure any great tragedy or pain. They can always be trusted and counted on and are resilient and resourceful.
     
  11. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    I think it could refer to one of two things: either a strongly-developed character, or a character who is a strong person. The former means that they're well thought out, they have a solid personality with flaws and quirks, their actions are consistent with that said personality, etc...the latter refers to a noble character.someone who's not perfect, but has convictions and sticks to them, and doesn't become a doormat.
     
  12. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    ^---- This
     
  13. afrodite7
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    afrodite7 Senior Member

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    -there are many different definitions of strong.i would suggest using whatever type of strength is important to a plot. examples: a woman who stays faithful to her husabnd even when he's away at war for years,a man that was once an alcoholic but resisting all of his old urges,a kid that can kick a car down the street...it really depends on the story itself.
     

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