The Importance of Neutral Character Traits

Published by Oscar Leigh in the blog Oscar Leigh's blog. Views: 579

Something I've long believed in as a writer is making character's feel human. And one of the things I find important to that is neutral character traits. By that, I mean traits that aren't obvious includes for your basic character concept but rather expand the character. The more of these you have the more human you're character feels, but of course don't do too many or your character is equally fake in their overstuffed personality. An example of a character without many of these would be the bond Blofeld, who is more than a little inhuman with how little personality he has.(Which is fine, if you want a simplistic story) And an example of a character with a very good amount of these is Shadow from American Gods, who is shown with a diversity of personality and emotions. (Which might not be your thing)There are two kinds of these traits; reactive and independent.
The first is in their relationships and reactions to plot points. The second is in their own raw thoughts, behaviours and mannerisms. Both of these are important. Now I must stress with the reactive, it is not about making them interesting by attaching interesting people and plot points to them. It's about the interaction being interesting on both sides. In the same way as their own individuals traits can't just be whatever flaws and eccentricities most obviously diversify them stuck on in a lazy attempt at deeper humanity. It has to fit together, mold together, flow into each other naturally. Don't rely on cheap gimmicks to make them complex, it won't work well.
Using these, we can make characters who are more than just "the hero" or "the villain", who feel beyond that to a degree. Even to the point where it feels less like there is a hero or villain. When you give a character true humanity it's made more difficult to simplify them into role-players where they're judged cheaply. That's what I aim for at least. My stories are about people, not chess-pieces.
Thank you for your time. Hope you have a good day. :blowkiss::blowkiss:
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