1. Rosetta Stoned
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    Rosetta Stoned Member

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    Worn-out descriptions for a worn-out character

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Rosetta Stoned, Jul 2, 2009.

    Alright, I have a character who, due to years of being overworked and constantly under pressure, has become a very tired, very frustrated man. Problem is, he's sort of an MC, and after three chapters of having him slouch and sigh a lot it's starting to get stale. I don't really know how to reflect his general lack of luster without boring the reader. Any suggestions? (I'm not really looking for straightforward adjectives, so please don't chuck thesaurus.com in my face. [​IMG])
     
  2. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Thesaurus.com.... LOL :D

    I will give you the example of the MC from Samuel R. Delany's Stars in my Pocket Like Grains of Sand.

    Although the MC is almost borderline mentally challenged and a square peg in the round whole* of his society, he is a challenging and enticing character because he becomes a mirror for the society around him. He spends a good bit of the story as an actual slave and almost dies of exhaustion, so I find him a good analogue for what you are trying to get across with you MC.

    Just remember that the fact that the MC is tired and worn out does not mean that there are not dynamic things you can speak about with respect to the MC. You don't only have to speak about his tiredness, his threadbare nature. If that is all there is to talk about then he really is tired and threadbare and will not be at all intriguing to your reader.

    Stars in my Pocket Like Grains of Sand

    *not a misspell, but a double entendre.
     
  3. daturaonfire
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    daturaonfire Senior Member

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    The best way to sketch a tired and frustrated character is to show him being tired and frustrated, instead of describing it. How does he handle frustration? Maybe he snaps at people needlessly, or takes up boxing so he can punch things. If he's tired he might ignore phone calls, get easily confused or frustrated, refuse invites for parties or leave early. Think about how you or other people handle down days and perhaps incorporate that into your story maybe. :-D
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Your greatest hurdle will probably be making an unsympathetic character endearing enough thhold the reader's interest. You may have to show him still pining for his shattered dreams, even still holding a glimmer of hope to someday still attain them.
     
  5. Rosetta Stoned
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    Rosetta Stoned Member

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    Hmm, good points from all. I don't want him to become too much like Willy Loman from Death of a Salesman, though. I've sort of surrounded him with dynamic characters as a contrast... I mean he can feel sympathy and all sorts of emotions, but he's just too tired to show it. I like the shattered dream idea. That's a good one.
     

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