1. Lightning
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    Lightning Member

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    Trait Limits?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Lightning, Apr 27, 2012.

    Hello!

    I just have a simple question this time; basically, if I have for instance a shy girl or a hyperactive guy, how shy/hyperactive can they be? Is there a limit?

    Thanks, Lightning
     
  2. superpsycho
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    superpsycho Contributing Member

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    I think it would depend on what you need to make the story work. There are some wild extremes in real life so whatever the story needs, should be fine.
     
  3. AmyHolt
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    AmyHolt Contributing Member

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    I like what superpsycho said but I'd be careful, when you move towards extremes you risk building an annoying character and that could be a huge put off for readers. Personally I deal with plenty of annoying people in real life, so my reading life has very little room for them. :)
     
  4. aimeekath
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    aimeekath Senior Member

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    I think it depends how it would fit into the story and whether it helps with plot or character development, for example going from very shy to less shy because of a particular experience that character has had. I also guess that they could become a bit annoying if they're really extreme, so I guess it also depends on how they're written.
     
  5. Leia
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    Leia Member

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    Either could work so long as the two traits aren't the only facet of your character that you explore. There's nothing more annoying than a flat character. Also, you want to make sure that you don't beat your adverbs to death (i.e. reluctantly, shyly, coyly, rapidly, energetically, etc.). It would also be a good idea to show some progress, or change, in your characters behavior from beginning to end...the shy boy grows more at ease with public speaking by novel's end, or the hyperactive girl learns to relax and just enjoy the moment.
     
  6. EineKleine
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    EineKleine Member

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    I tend to like writing extreme characters on one end of the spectrum of the other and I think the key to consider is this; you want them to be characters in a story yes, but you also want them to be real human beings (or real aliens, or elves or whatever.)

    For example; If you write a character who is ridiculously shy, to the point where they can't function socially, you need to show other aspects of their life that humanize them, that makes them realistic. Because in the real world, no one is one dimensional. There are lots of extreme people, extremely greedy, extremely angry, extremely happy but they all have dimensions.

    The extremely greedy guy could help a random stranger he sees stuck at the side of the road with a flat tire. He could be deeply romantic.

    The extremely angry father could be extremely caring and loving when he isn't raging. He could care far more than most parents would. He could feel regret for his anger, and drown those feelings with alcohol.

    I think the issue isn't IF you can write extreme characters, but WHY you do, and HOW they deal with it.

    Just something to consider, and my take on it.
     
  7. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The limit is what you can successfully "sell" to the reader. It is a function of your writing skill.
     
  8. Ettina
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    Ettina Active Member

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    On a tangent, I actually knew a kid who was both shy and hyperactive. Until I met him, I hadn't thought it was possible to be both. (He often crawled around underneath chairs or other furniture, or else bolted from the room when no one was looking.)
     

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