Tags:
  1. cherrya

    cherrya Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2013
    Messages:
    103
    Likes Received:
    57

    Why is it so hard to write happy character's pov?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by cherrya, Jul 9, 2019.

    Tl;dr Do you encounter issues writing happy characters with simple and easy backgrounds? If not, how do you do it? If so, how do you get past it?

    This might not be a problem for everyone, but I've been struggling with this for so long it's actually embarrassing. I have no issues writing through the voice of troubled characters, I don't know why. Maybe because I feel like they have a lot more to say? Maybe I'm the problem actually. I have the tendency to not take overly positive people too seriously, so maybe that's why? I feel like people like that are fooling themselves or are actually blind to the reality of the real world. Perhaps there's a way to play with that. Write a happy character who knows the world is terrible and still tries to smile through it all? Or actually abuse of it and make him naive even though I essentially wasn't planning on writing him that way.

    Still, I think I'm uninspired. Does anyone have this problem? I'm forcing myself to do this because it would play really well in the story: One had a terribly abusive childhood / One grew up loved and adored by his family and friends. My plan was to play with the contrast in personalities since they're ultimately meant to fall in love... And the fact that it's so hard for me makes me want to work even harder on it, but still. Maybe some of you will have a piece of advice lol?

    I'm sorry for this long thread, it's helping me think.
     
  2. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2016
    Messages:
    3,700
    Likes Received:
    2,838
    Nobody is happy all the time.
     
    Cave Troll and DK3654 like this.
  3. Mckk

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2010
    Messages:
    6,291
    Likes Received:
    4,218
    Some of the happiest people are often those who've been through the most suffering. But first, what do you mean by "happy"?

    Do you mean content? At peace? Or simply naive? Child-like innocence? Optimism?

    Because I think each of those qualities are created by different things, different situations, and say something different about the character. Someone who's optimistic might have been through suffering, but they also might have had a very sheltered life.

    Whereas someone who is at peace? Very often, people who are at peace have not had a sheltered life. Corrie ten Boom, from her biography, sounds like she's at peace, and she was a Holocaust survivor, herself lived through a Nazi concentration camp and lost her father and sister to it. Another I think of - a doctor whose name I've unfortunately forgotten - and she's retired now but she spent her working life as a doctor who dealt with cancer in children. All she wanted in life was to be known as "The woman who cared", and in her interview video, she said at the time when she started work in the 50s, there wasn't even an awful lot you could do for the patients except care. I would not called such a woman sheltered or naive, but she very much sounded content. The fictional priest from Les Miserable who welcomed a criminal into his church and then had the church robbed and pretended the loot was a gift - that's not an example of someone who is naive. You could argue he might have been hopeful - is that the same as optimistic? There're overlaps I think. But not naive.

    So, I guess I'm wondering - do you equate happiness with a simple, easy life? What brings happiness? Is the life of one who is genuinely happy necessarily the life of one who's never seen hardship?

    There's an irony here, in that I sometimes find, the less you've been through, the more likely you are to be miserable, perhaps because you're not cut out for the stress and pain of real life (not you personally. Just the general "you"). It's something I ask myself now because I am sometimes anxious, but when I ask myself "Over what?" my answer is always, "Well, not much at all." I was chatting with a colleague recently and she told me that she's a breast cancer survivor - when she discovered she had cancer, her only son was 5 years old. I'm a mother too, so I know the terror she must have had over the thought of not being able to raise her son. I know that's one of my biggest fears - what would happen to my daughter if anything were to happen to me? (She has an immensely supportive wider family, both in my husband/daddy and in both sets of grandparents - but I'm still her mother, you know) I asked her what she's learnt through the experience, and she said, "Never worry about anything."

    Never worry about anything. Well I'm a Christian too, and that's exactly what Jesus said: Do not worry about anything. Here, in my colleague, was a woman who had every reason to be frightened and to live in the shadow of what she's been through, and yet here she was, saying: Don't worry. And here I am, from a happy home and in a happy marriage, never gone a day hungry or unsafe, with a healthy daughter and the most supportive husband, with financial safety, and zero health issues throughout the family - here I am, anxious. It's a good lesson for me.

    So, you see, I would argue, the happiest people may very well be the people who have suffered the most. They've just found the peace and contentment - the things that truly make you "happy", if you will - to not complain about it, to not turn hard, to not be cynical, with the ability to stay gentle and kind despite seeing the world exactly as it is. Suffering has a way of doing that to you. It has a way of softening the heart. The kindest, strongest people often hurt the most, but also with the potential to, perhaps, be the happiest.

    Although I probably would simply call it peace.

    So, what is it you really want to write?
     
  4. Some Guy

    Some Guy Manguage Langler Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 2, 2018
    Messages:
    5,125
    Likes Received:
    7,640
    Location:
    The kingdom of scrambled portmanteaus
    Vacuously happy people aren't much good for drama. Humor, maybe. The key to drama with happy people is resilience. I spoilered you an excerpt for Tinkerbell (Leah) from The Circle. I hope it helps your perspective (I hope it's even readable! LOL). Sorry for the length. I suck at WP.
    The only other girl I could say definitely liked me was Leah. She wasn’t as cute as Jessie, or Pam. Actually, It was hard to describe her face because it was mostly smile all the time. Just at the right moment, she had a stately, even a hardened look. Sometimes she looked like the professional Vegas showgirls I saw on TV, only she didn’t need all the makeup. Sometimes she did have sparkly stuff on her face, and it turned out she was a junior-pro dancer. It wasn’t her face that made her cute, but there was a light in her eyes that caught me. It was all of her, her essence and energy, that made her cute. It was hard not to smile when you saw her.

    I first met her in 8th grade. She just showed up one day. She was fun, but intense. Later, I found out she really liked me, but I thought she was too young, and sometimes annoying. Leah was a girl that just could not be still. It was a phenomenon that earned her a few nicknames.

    She floated from one conversation to the next, making jokes and comments. She was always happy and always moving, and it earned her the title of Tinkerbell. She didn’t have wings that held her up, she literally bounced on her springy heels. She never sat, unless it was to hop in your lap and talk at warp speed for a few seconds, even if you weren’t listening. She danced around, she sang, and she was funny. She was especially great on double dates. She became the mascot of the group, and an absolute joy, as long as she didn’t drive you crazy.

    We very rarely ever called her Tinkerbell. We mostly called her Tinker.

    Once, when we were talking about her, we called her ‘The Phenomenon Known As The Tink’, and that, fairly quickly, pared down to just Tink. That's what we called her when we talked about her. She became a permanent fixture in the group even though she wasn’t in the Core.



    Tink was one of the few people I knew who understood that I was listening and watching everything. She came back to where I was sitting frequently and then went out again, like a hummingbird. That was how I knew she liked me. She also understood that I used her as an observation tool. If I needed to know someone’s mood, I didn’t have to ask. I just opened my fist toward the person, and she got it the first time I tried it. If they were bitchy, she would turn to to me when nobody could see and make a cat claw sign. If I knew someone was in a mood, I would hold up the claw sign. If she was bugging, I would hold up a fist and tighten it quickly. Pam and Jessie caught on to it and we used it to read each other and the group. Hardly anyone else got it. It was pretty magical, but it wasn’t magic. Not every time, unfortunately for Tink. Not the one time it counted the most.


    By the time the end of my 8th grade year came around, I knew most of the older guys in the group fairly well. One of the guys in the group was a 10th grader in my last PE class. He was on the football and baseball team. Everyone called him Pitch. He played both quarterback and pitcher. He was one of the sports celebrities in the group. He was fun to watch on the field, but he was a hothead. His temper and demeanor lost him girlfriend after girlfriend. We kept watch on him and avoided trouble in our own way, but it wasn’t enough.

    10th grade was more pressure for some guys, and after losing the last two games of the year, Pitch was definitely fraying. The day after losing the second game, I sat at the after school hangout and watched the dynamics of the group playing out. Springy bouncy Tink, guy talk, girl talk, a Dare Kiss, and an argument between Pitch and his current future ex-girlfriend. She was tired of listening to him talk about the game, and he was getting pissed. He was standing right next to me, but I only caught the end of the argument.

    “... supposed to talk about, dolls and jewelry?”

    “Anything’s better than hearing you whine about the stupid game all the time.”

    “What the hell is that supposed to mean?”

    “It means I’m sick of it! Everything’s always about you!”

    “So everything's supposed to always be about you? You’re so stupid!”

    Pitch was raising his voice.

    I stood up to give the situation my full attention as she gave him the response I knew was coming.

    “You’re such a dickhead!” she said as she got up to leave.

    Pitch stood up with his fist clenched.

    “Fine, goddamit! We’re done! Get the hell away from me!” he yelled as he wheeled away from her.

    He was basically out of control.

    Things went into slow motion as Tink bounced up beside me, singing one of her funny songs. She was completely oblivious and innocent to the impending disaster. I held up my hand and tightened my fist to stop her, and she passed me, clueless. Then, I moved to intercept, too late, and she bounced off of me…

    … straight into Pitch. His weight knocked her into my side and I was forced behind him as he stumbled and Leah fell to the ground. I felt heat coming down from the top of my head. It reminded me of the first day of PE. Why should she get knocked over just because he’s out of control? Her surprise turned to fear as Pitch raised his fist and bent over her as he hollered.

    “Stay the FUCK out of my face, you little BITCH!!”

    He raised his fist higher and fear turned to sheer terror as she shriveled in anticipation of his attack.

    Her terrified high-pitched shriek cut through me like lightning, then cut out. Leah still looked like she was trying to scream. She was literally petrified. I felt the heat move over my face and down to my chest as I stepped with my full weight into Pitch. He stood as he felt me, and I put all my forward motion with my knee into the back of his knee. He went straight down to the ground as I stepped over his chest and knelt down with him under me. It forced him to land flat, and shook the ground, stunning him. As my vision started turning red, I knew I had only one chance to subdue an athlete with fifty pounds and six inches over me. I slid my leg up over his neck and locked my foot under his arm. I could feel his throat under my shin and I pressed my knee up under his jaw. As he recovered, he looked at me with the same rage.

    “Get the F…” he started as he struggled to get a hold of my knee.

    I used my one and only advantage, I put weight on my knee and pushed it harder under his jaw. His eyes blinked and started to roll back, and as I eased up slightly, they went wide. I had found the spot, thank God. My vision darkened and I realized I wanted to kill him. I could feel the muscles in my face and forehead twitch and tremor as I pressed slightly again. His face turned to terror. He deserved it.

    Terror.

    I hissed through my clenched teeth.

    “Do you know what happens when I break your neck?”

    He was wide eyed and twitching. His hands clenched and then his fingers spread out involuntarily. I eased up just slightly and they relaxed. Good, I had him where he knew I could do whatever I wanted... in degrees.

    I hissed as loud as I could.

    “SOMETIMES… !!”

    Everyone I could see jumped, then froze. Spit landed on his cheek. I forced my jaw to unclench.

    “ ...you don’t die, at least not right away” I whispered loud and heavy, to be sure he knew everyone heard.

    I continued as his eyes darted around in panic.

    “You piss your pants, and you shit yourself.”

    I pressed under his jaw again. His eyes rolled back and his feet straightened. I eased again and let his terror come back.

    “If I put you into a coma, you’ll lay there and shit yourself for the rest of your brainless life.”

    He shook his head and his eyes were wild He was nearly primal. People were scared. I wanted to end this and go to Leah. I looked over to see her shriveled on the ground. She hadn’t moved. No one had, it had only been a few seconds. I looked back into his eyes and straightened up. I let a bit of pressure from my shin push down on his throat. His whole body stiffened. I pointed my finger at his nose.

    “You stay right there on the ground where you belong and keep your mouth shut. Move, and I’ll paralyze your ass permanently. Got it?”

    He started to nod and I pushed myself off of him and stood over him. He went flat, still nodding, and I stepped over him and turned away like I didn’t care if he was there. People started to move, and I put my fist straight up in front of my chest and clenched it. Everyone saw it. Everyone understood it exactly. They backed up as I put my finger up to my lips. They were quiet. They knew I wasn’t done. I moved to Leah and picked her up. She was shaking, in shock, she couldn’t make a sound. I sat criss-cross on the spot where she fell, and rocked her little body in my arms. I moved her hair away from where it had fallen over her face. She stared straight ahead and her mouth was open, like she was trying to say ‘ooh’. I forced the angry heat out of myself, for her. I whispered as I put my cheek on her forehead.

    “C’mon, Tinker. I’ve got you right here. C’mon...”

    I rocked her back and forth. I breathed into her ear.

    “It’s ok, sweetheart. I’ve got you. Come back..”

    I looked into her eyes. They were starting to roll back into her head. I softened everything about myself as I heard her inhale. I put my fingers on her cheek and took a deep calming breath.

    “Leah… ?”

    Everyone jumped as her head jerked and she screamed. I loosened my arms, but kept them around her and let her finish the scream she had started after she fell. Her wild eyes found mine and she heaved a few breaths. Then, finally, the sound she was trying to make came out of her.

    “Ooooooooh… “ she wailed as she put her arms around my neck. She put her face into my neck and sobbed until she was out of breath. She heaved a huge, shaking sigh…

    “Ooh… …ooooooooh…” she wailed into me again. It was a haunting sound that I will never forget. It broke my heart. She sobbed and heaved and I rocked her back and forth. I breathed my words into her ear.

    “It’s okay, baby. I’ve got you right here… C’mon”

    I put my mouth on her forehead. I whispered as I let my lips touch in a slight kiss.

    “It’s alright. Go ahead, sweetheart, let it go.”

    “Mmmm-mmm-mmm... ”

    The tone of her wail changed as she buried her face in me and squeezed my neck hard. It was time to pick her up. I lifted her as I straightened up and she felt limp, except for the grip she had around my neck. I held her light body in one arm as I reached behind me to pick up her Hello Kitty backpack. I made an effort to keep my jaw from clenching as I looked at the scuffs and dirt. It wasn’t torn, but it was still ruined. Even if we cleaned it up, it would never be cute again. It was... tainted.

    I carried her past Pitch. People started to move toward us. I put up the fist and clenched it as I turned and stepped over him. They froze. Pitch lay absolutely flat and still. I leaned forward so he could see Leah without moving. I spoke in icy tones as she sobbed in my arms.

    “This.. is what you did… Look at her.”

    Pitch darted his eyes at Leah, then at me. He was still terrified. Good. It wouldn’t be over for him for a while yet.

    “You didn’t hit her, or you would be dead” the ice continued, “and you didn’t push her down, or you would never walk again.”

    “You crushed her innocence” I said as I held the backpack over him, “and you’re going to pay.”

    I kissed her forehead and she tightened her grip, still sobbing.

    His eyes went wide and he stiffened. I turned to Leah and whispered into her ear.

    “He will never hurt you, Tinker. Look at me, honey”

    She turned her head and met my eyes as her breath shook. Her whole face was wet.

    “Mmmm mmm?” she sobbed.

    She was nowhere near done with crying.

    “Look at him down there, baby. See him laying down there?”

    “Mmm mmmm” she answered.

    Big drops ran off her face as she dipped her head to see Pitch. She shook involuntarily, as she recognized him.

    God - If she’s tainted

    I wanted to stomp on him. I had to calm myself, for her, and get this done.

    “Are you ever going to hurt a girl?”

    The ice in my voice cut the question into his soul. This was his one chance to answer a question and mean it like his life depended on it. I put my finger over my lips and shook my head as I gave him the The Look - Answer, but do not speak. He got it, and shook his head so hard it might have rolled off.

    Leah nodded her head and put her face into my neck and sobbed. Done. I kissed her forehead and put my head over hers and closed my eyes.

    “It’s alright, sweetheart” I breathed as I rocked side to side. I turned back to Pitch. He was starting to realize what he had done.

    “You belong to me now” I pointed at him, “and her… Forever”

    He closed his eyes, accepting it.

    “Get up. Keep your mouth shut. Don’t cry, don’t make any noise at all.“

    He got it and nodded his head as he got up. I knew he had no power as long as he couldn’t make sound.

    I looked up and turned to the group. They looked at Pitch, then at me.

    “He took something away from her… and from us”

    I spoke firmly, not loudly. Leah was pretty messed up and I knew we couldn’t let anything more stain her soul.

    “He’s gonna pay it back, every day, to all of us”

    Pitch stood behind me, hiding from the crowd. Leah inhaled a huge shaking breath and sobbed. I felt the warm wet drops running down my neck and soaking my shirt. I knew I had to keep myself together. Something had to turn this away from what it was, or the whole group would take it out on Pitch. Not good. We had never kicked anyone out of the group and I knew it would change us forever if we did. I knew it would change me and my place in the group. I didn’t want emotional responsibility for the group. I didn’t want to have any power at all. I wanted to run away with Leah, but I knew the group would be stained if they had to do anything in this emotional chaos. I couldn’t leave yet. I couldn’t let anything else be destroyed. Especially Pitch. Something had to be created.

    I dared a look at the crowd. There were tears on a few faces. Some of them definitely had something to say. Some of them were afraid... of me. I had to pay, too. I had to fix this, for Leah, me, and Pitch. I knew I couldn’t let them make sound any more than Pitch. Something had to be made that wasn’t mine. Something also had to be taken away from Pitch.

    Pitch… Pitch. What a stupid name.

    That was it!

    I knew exactly what to do. I had a plan. I turned to Pitch as Leah heaved another breath.

    “Move… over there, on the wall” I told him as I gestured to my spot at the hangout.

    He led the way to my spot. Someone started to open their mouth and I put up the fist again. I put my hand over my mouth as they moved away silently. They understood it for the signal it was.

    There was one chance here.

    “Sit… no sound” I commanded.

    He looked around as he quietly sat. Oh, crap! Don’t let him make eye contact with anyone yet.

    “Eyes on me. You don’t get to look at any of them.”

    I turned to the group. I had to stop them from considering me in anything that happened after I spoke.

    “His ass is mine” I said firmly and carefully. “He took something away and I am taking his name.”

    I turned to Pitch, and Leah shifted and tightened her grip, still sobbing.

    “You’re not Pitch anymore” I told him as he nodded. “Pitch is gone. You’re somebody new and you’re going to make something new, and you’re gonna have a new name.”

    I turned back to the group. They were looking at each other. Thank God. Not him. Not me. I turned to Pam and bent down to give Leah over. Pam had tears on her cheek. I put my lips out in a silent ‘shh’. She reached and Leah tightened her grip on me.

    “Mmm mm” she sobbed.

    She wouldn’t let go. I shifted her in my arm as I gave the backpack to Jessie, then turned back to the group.

    “He’s in charge of the only rule for this group.”

    I turned to him.

    “You’re gonna make something with your new hands and give it to us. You’re gonna make something only you can make. Something you can show her”

    Leah heaved a shaking breath as he nodded to her.

    “Now we’re going to decide the first thing this new guy is gonna do when he goes home” I announced, as I turned back to the group.

    I needed to get myself out of this quick.

    “We are gonna say things to help him… things that won’t upset her.”

    I looked into as many eyes as I could. A lot of them looked like they were changing their minds about what they were going to say, or say anything. A few even looked guilty about it. Thank God, there was hope for my plan. I turned to him.

    “You aren’t gonna say anything ‘til you get home… not a sound. You’re gonna listen.”

    I knew all he had to do was peep, and they would eat him alive. This has to stay in control and they have to do it. I turned away from all of them and hugged Leah as she made a little whimper between sobs.

    “Mmm... p… p… “

    I lifted my head to look at her and her eyes moved to him. I turned back to the group as she managed to speak.

    “Pray… y… y… “

    She disintegrated into sobbing and shook as she pulled herself back into me. I turned away and took a few steps. I needed to get Leah away from here. Someone behind me spoke quietly.

    “Yeah, go to church… he shou…”

    I turned and cut them off.

    “No, forgiveness doesn’t come to him in church. He can pray at home and then he can have forgiveness from here.”

    I lifted Leah as I spoke.

    “He’s going to make a simple thing, for us. The Rule.”

    They changed their expression again. They were getting it. I turned away and stepped toward Pam. She nodded her head toward her house. I took a few steps as Pam and Jessie got up.

    A quiet voice broke the silence.

    “It should say something”

    I paused. ‘It’… They were talking about ‘It’. Thank God, we’re saved. I blocked everything else out as Leah and I heaved a shaking sigh together. We joined Jessie and Pam and we all headed home.


    We got to Pam's house and she led us to the back patio. There was a giant hammock and she went over and stood next to it. I carefully sat with Leah and rolled us in. Leah brought her knees up as she curled herself into a ball. I whispered as she heaved another shaking sigh.

    "Okay, baby... I've got you."

    I smiled at Jessie and Pam and gave a nod to each side of me. They carefully rolled in and turned their faces to us. Jessie put her hand on Leah's side and Pam reached for her hand. Leah looked up and pulled Pam's hand into us.

    "We're here, little bunny" Pam said as she put her head into my shoulder and sniffled.

    Jessie put her cheek on my other shoulder and rubbed Leah's side as she sniffled. Now, my upper and lower shirt was soaked. I wondered if this was what a sponge felt like. I closed my eyes and and we all sighed together. I thought maybe this is what being a mom felt like.

    "He... He was so scary" Leah whispered.

    I looked down into Leah's watery eyes.

    "But then you took... you took him away... from him."

    She turned to lay the side of her head on me and Pam smiled as they looked at each other. She let go of Pam's hand and put her arm over Jessie's arm, then she pulled Jessie's hand up to her and cuddled with it, as she turned slightly.

    "You were scary, too... but you took it away and put me in there instead."

    I inhaled a great shaking breath and slowly sighed it away, to keep myself from breaking down into tears. I barely managed it, but my voice still sounded shaky.

    “I took it away and I don’t want it to ever come back. I’m glad you’re there now, Tinker”

    I felt her look up at me.

    “I promise I’ll be there, forever”

    She sounded better, and I looked down at her. Her eyes looked like they had little stars in them. I felt like she loved me… like… something... a little…

    “You’ll be okay, don’t worry” she said as she put the back of her hand under my chin.

    I closed my eyes and felt wetness in them and my breath shook as I inhaled and sighed again. She was worried about me. I never could have guessed she’d be worried about me. She kinda was like a little sister… maybe… or... She made a little noise like a whimper. I waited for her to start crying again. It turned into a melody. She was humming. It got a little louder and then stopped.

    “Do you know what I saw yesterday?” she said as she tilted her head up.

    “Huh?” I said as I felt Pam and Jessie lift their heads.

    “What was it?” said Pam.

    “These totally awesome boots for dancing” said Tinker. “They were right in the window.”

    “At the mall?” Jessie chimed in.

    I put my head back and went into guy mode as they all picked up speed.

    “Yeah”

    “How much?”

    “Were they on sale?”

    “Yeah, twenty percent off”

    “Did you try them on?”

    “Oh, I wanted to so bad”

    “Do you think they’re still there?”


    I was relieved to see Tink’s return, but it was time to leave the fashion discussion to the girls. I squirmed and twisted to dislodge from my captivity.

    “Okay, ladies, time for me to find the little boys room” I announced.

    They giggled and we all rolled around like puppies as we tried to change places. I finally made it to the edge and let myself flop out. I looked at my shirt as I stood, it was soaked. It was plastered to me like a second skin. My hairy chest showed through, so I pulled it away. It stuck back on me as soon as I let go. I realized the top of my pants were wet, too.

    “Okay, I gotta go home and change” I said, embarrassed.

    As I turned and headed for the door, I heard a commotion. I turned back to see three girlfaces right behind me.

    I turned around and Tink bounced up and put her arms around my neck. It pulled me to her and she kissed my cheek and dropped back to the floor. She took my hands and looked at me with those starry eyes.

    “It’s alright. You’ll be okay.”

    I looked at all of them and felt awkward. They smiled and they all stepped into me and put their arms around me. I put my arms around them all and squeezed a little. They hung on and I felt embarrassed again. I let go and they stood in front of me. I smiled for a moment, then felt awkward again.

    “Okay, bye” I said as I stepped back.

    “Bye, Dan” they all said together as I turned and headed for the door.

    It was sweet. I heard them whispering to each other as I opened the door.

    “Did you see how wet his shirt was?” said Pam.

    “I know. I really turned him into a puddle.” said Tink.

    “Didn’t he smell good?” said Jessie.

    “Yeah.” they said at the same time as they giggled.

    I shook my head as I closed the door. Girls. They were okay, I guess. They were sweet.


    I walked home fast and went straight up to my room and took off my wet clothes. My shirt, my pants, even my underwear was damp. Everything but my socks. I sat on the edge of the bed and everything hit me at once. Leah’s scream... Pitch... me. I could have killed him. I wanted to kill him. I put my head in my hands and sobbed just like Leah. I cried until my tears ran down to my socks. I cried until I was numb. Then I sat.


    “What’s the matter, son?” my dad said as my bedroom door closed.


    It was that late? My dad was already home? I had sat there for… I didn’t know how long. He sat next to me and put his arm around my shoulders. It felt… great. I leaned into him as he waited patiently.

    “I got in a fight” I said into my hands.

    “Are you hurt?” he said as he put his head down to look up at me.

    He touched my hands to see if they were hurt.

    “No. I got lucky” I said as I put my hands on my knees.

    I kept my head down.

    “You didn’t get in trouble? The school didn’t call. That’s pretty lucky” he said, trying to lighten things up.

    “No. It was after school.“

    He waited for a moment to give me space.

    “Do you want to tell me what happened?”

    I told him everything. I told him about Leah and how happy she was all the time. I told him about Pitch. I told him about Leah’s scream and putting Pitch down… and putting my knee into his neck. The heat. The rage. I made him do what I wanted. I terrified him and it terrified everyone, including Leah. I took his voice and his name away and I wouldn’t give one back. I made everyone stay quiet, and the looks on their faces. I left him there. I wanted to kill him. I could have killed him.

    I was crying again, but it felt numb. My dad had his hand on his chin. He was thinking about all of it. He squeezed my shoulder.

    “But you didn’t kill him. You chose not to. Did you even hurt him?”

    I shook my head as I looked up. I hadn’t thought of that.

    “But he thought he was going to die… they thought I… ”

    I trailed off as I put my head back in my hands.

    My dad was silent in thought for a moment, then he spoke.

    “So you made someone bigger than you, someone violent, lie on the ground while you held the girl he attacked in your arms, and now he has to make something for her to get a name from you? That’s interesting… ”

    It was a nightmare.

    “He has to make a rule for the group, and show it to her” I clarified.

    “So, what happened to the girl?”

    “Leah? I carried her and left her with Pam and Jessie.”

    “Is she alright?”

    “I guess so. They were talking about shoes when I left.”

    “Really? Shoes?”

    “Boots… for dancing. We call her Tinkerbell. Well, Tinker.”

    “Tinker? That’s cute. Well, son, I would say Tinker is going to be fine. What about this Pitch? Do you think he’ll do what you told him? Are you going to kick him out?”

    “No, he has to stay. The group will make him do it. I don’t want to be in charge. I don’t want anything. I don’t know what to do.”

    I wanted to run out of the world.

    “It sounds to me like he has nowhere to go unless he does it. I think he will. So, all you have to do is choose a name, right?”

    I hadn’t thought about it like that. I really wasn’t sure anything would work out. If it didn’t the group would be tainted and I would leave anyway. So it was just a matter of a name and how to give it to him. Fine. I began to form a plan.

    “Okay dad, I might have a plan, but I don’t know what name to pick.”

    “All right, that’s my boy” he said encouragingly. “So, why did you take his name away? That’s a really powerful thing, son.”

    “He was too wrapped up in himself. It was selfish. It was all about him.”

    “So, if he thinks too much of himself, what should he be?”

    I knew what I wanted to be. I just wanted to be normal.

    That was it!

    That’s the plan. Make him normal. That would make the group go back to normal. Nobody needed power to be normal. I would be out of it. It would be done.

    “Steven. His real name is Steven. I’m going to turn him back into normal Steven.”

    “That’s perfect, son. He can deal with his own identity”

    I wish I knew what my identity was. I definitely didn’t want the current one.


    Morning came with a sense of dread. l knew what was going to happen, and I didn't know what was going to happen. I knew what I didn't want to happen. I didn't want to see Steven. I didn't want to tell him what to do. I didn't want to face the group. I didn't want to be a hero. I especially didn't want to be a badass.

    I knew I had to have a real plan. I knew I had to be at school before anyone else if I had any hope of preventing rumors and gossip. I knew I had to make Steven a normal person who could be a normal part of the group. I knew he had to become someone the girls would want to at least go on a double date with.

    I knew what I hoped for. I hoped Tink wouldn't leave the group. I hoped she would somehow accept the new Steven. l hoped people wouldn't think l was a total psycho. I hoped there wouldn't be another fight. I hoped the group wouldn't kick Steven out, if they hadn't already. What a disaster that would be for me. I would have to leave, too. I would be branded a total badass psycho freak, without any hope of turning it around. I hoped the group wouldn't be ruined.

    I knew what I had. I had Tink. I had Steven. I had me. That was all.


    No, that wasn't all. I had the Dare, and I had the Rule.

    Tinker!

    Tinker was the key to the group. Steven was the key to Tinker, and to me.

    And to me!

    Steven and me!

    Steven was going to be my new friend. Not my slave. Not my beaten enemy. I had never gone wrong by backing someone up. No one would accept Steven if somebody didn’t already accept him. He needed me to be accepted. He needed Tinker, too… and The Rule… and the Dare. That was the real plan. I had to challenge someone to double date Steven. I had to be sure he had made the rule or help him do it before he faced the group. I looked at the clock and tore out of the house.

    I knew it had to be now.


    I ran as fast as I could, all the way to the last corner before the school. As I crossed the street, I knew I had to slow down and be calm. I was more than a half hour early. I wanted to be there first. But, I wasn’t. Someone was already there. It was Steven. He didn’t look like Steven. There were no sports logos on his… polo shirt! He never wore polo shirts. No baseball cap, either. Wow! I felt a serious weight on me again. We were both all-in. If this didn’t work out, we’d crash and burn together. I decided to try and be positive. I gave the customary greeting.


    “Hey, dude. What’s up?”

    He didn’t say anything. He held up something in his hand.


    My God - It’s a Hello Kitty backpack


    He reached inside and started to pull out a piece of... a roll of paper. Did he really do something? I was pretty sure it wasn’t a poem. I hoped it wasn’t an apology. That hadn’t come to mind until now. It would probably put a damper on things if it sounded like punishment. I wondered what they told him to do.

    I hoped everybody had been positive with him. Thank God he was still here. Well, I hoped for the best. Then, I remembered… my part.

    “I mean, hey, Steven. That’s who you are, right?”

    He looked surprised. I couldn’t tell if it was because I gave him his own name or because I was letting him speak before we faced the group. He smiled and actually stuck out his hand like we just met.

    “Hi Dan, that’s right. I’m Steven.” he said as we shook hands.

    Now I felt weird. I needed to get back to reality.

    “What’s that?” I said as I moved my eyes to the paper and back to him.

    “I made something” he said as he started to hand me the paper.

    I motioned to the table.

    “That’s not for me, is it?”

    He put the rolled paper on the table and spread it out. My mouth fell open as I realized… he had talent. It was art. It was three different sized boxes with words in them. They weren’t boxes, they were pictures… like tapestries. They had scrollwork with vines and golden fruit… and flowers. Inside there were big scrolled letters with gold tracing and vines, instead of the usual people or animals.

    It read:


    I AM GOING TO

    TREAT THE GIRL RIGHT


    I gestured grandly.

    “How did you come up… with this?”

    He saw how impressed I was and smiled. He should be proud. Then he looked serious and put his head down.

    “I prayed” he said solemnly as he gestured to the artwork. “I used my mom’s bible. It’s really old and it looks like this. It comes from the golden rule”

    “Holy crap… ! Oh... sorry” I said as I put my head down. “It’s fantastic! How long did it take to do this?”

    I ran my finger gently over the scrollwork. There was texture to it. It actually was a work of art.

    “I worked on it all night. I kinda screwed it up, but it’s the best I could do.”

    He sounded disappointed. I couldn’t imagine what could be screwed up about something like this. I waved my hands over it in disbelief.

    “I don’t see it. I don’t get it… what… ?

    “It’s supposed to say GIRLS” he said as he pointed to the word.

    “I think it’s awesome!”

    A thought came into my head.

    “Look, I can help you out with this," I said, "may I?”

    I reached my hands out and paused. He put his lip under his teeth and nodded. He really had put his soul into it. I carefully picked it up and half rolled it. He stiffened as I put my fingers on the corners, then relaxed as I put my hand under it and held it up. It now read:


    TREAT THE GIRL RIGHT


    He tilted his head to the side and considered for a moment, then brightened and smiled.

    “That’s a great idea. Now, it’s for everybody” he said as he reached for it.

    I handed it over and watched him hold the corners and put it on the table. Too bad it has to be folded, I thought as he pressed it down with his palm. He ran his thumbnail along the fold and then unfolded it. My smile disappeared as he put his hand on the corner and brought it over the edge of the table.

    “No… wait! I didn’t mean…”

    I waved my hands toward it, too late.

    The ripping sound made me sick as he tore the work of art in half. I shook my head as he… smiled.

    “Now, I can roll it. It won’t roll with a fold in it” he said as I tilted my head, confused.

    He held it up again and I noticed little fibers sticking out from the tear. It wasn’t regular paper.

    “Hey! That looks cool. That edge kinda looks like a tapestry” I said, remembering my first impression.

    He looked up at it and tilted his head again. The tear was perfect, none of the work had been destroyed. It just looked a little… misaligned. He read my mind as he brought it back to the table. I tried not to freak out as he expertly folded and tore the remaining edges. He held it up again and nodded his approval.

    “That was a good idea you had” he said with satisfaction.

    “Wow… “ I said, and paused.

    I didn’t have anything else to say. Then it came to me.

    “It is a tapestry.”

    He turned and grinned and so did I. We worked well together. It gave me a thought.

    “Hey… can I have that other piece? I think we could use that in… “

    “The gym!” we both agreed as he read my mind and held it up.

    He nodded and motioned to the table. I held my breath as he tore the rest of the edges on the top piece, then smiled as he handed it to me. We looked at each other for a moment, then grinned as we rolled our treasures at the same time. We stashed them in our backpacks, and he held his proudly. He shrugged as I smirked. Hello Kitty was not his style. The genuine humility suited him well, though.

    His expression humbled as he spoke.

    “I hope they like it.”

    He lowered his head.

    “I hope she likes it… Is she okay?”

    He was genuinely sorry and concerned. It made me feel my burden too. He was a person just like she was a person… just like I was a person. I knew had to pay my part, at some point.

    “I think she’s going to make it.”

    I wanted to sound upbeat, but I had to be honest.

    “You know, it’s going to be you and her, right? I think you’re different, but she’s going to be different, too… maybe. She is kinda like a force of nature.”

    We both smiled at the thought as we looked at each other, then I had to lower my head.

    “I scared her… pretty bad. She told me. I held her for a long time… ”

    I lost myself in the memory, for a moment.

    “Even after we got to Pam’s… I didn’t say I was sorry. I think she knows, but I didn’t say it.”

    I looked up to see his lip quivering. I knew we had to get off of it.

    I tried to sound stern.

    “Hey, don’t mess me up, man. We’re still in this.”

    He forced a laugh.

    “Yeah. That’s for real.”

    “Hey, Steven... do you remember when I said your ass is mine?”

    His expression turned serious and he unconsciously put his hand to his throat.

    “Yeah… “

    “Well, I still mean it... in a different way, now that I know you’re different.”

    He was still serious, but his head tilted a little. Here’s where I had to pay my part… part of it.

    “I have to look after you… watch out for you.”

    He started to look guilty.

    “I mean I need to have your back.”

    His head tilted again.

    “Look, I know what I did to you, and you know why I did it. I took something away from you… ”

    “Nah, I don’t want that back, it’s not me any… ”

    I held up my hand. He responded to it immediately. I thought about the people from yesterday, and what my dad said about power over people. I needed to put that in the filing cabinet. It was big responsibility. I waved my hand down… like I was cancelling my signal.

    “Right, that’s not going to happen, but when you take something out of someone, you have to put something back, or… ”

    He knew exactly what I meant.

    “Yeah, something else will creep in.”

    I remembered what Tink said.

    “Leah told me something else. She said when I had you… when I was going to… but then I stopped… “

    We both felt uncomfortable with the subject, so I pressed on.

    “She said I took something out of me, too. I swore to her I would never let it come back.”

    He nodded his head. He knew this was serious business.

    “We have to put each other back, or be seriously messed up. I don’t like the way I was. We gotta have each other’s back and watch each other for signs of… for as long as we can… ”

    He had it.

    “Yeah” I agreed, “now we just have to find each other a date.”

    His eye flicked to my bulge for just a moment.

    “Nah, we need to find a girlfriend for you.”

    He knew. I felt exposed. Someone figured out my greatest fear. I guess I was more obvious than I thought. I could only hope that it was a small degree of obvious. He was right, of course. I needed a special girlfriend.

    “No kidding” I laughed ironically, “a jealous girlfriend.”

    He put his hand on my shoulder and laughed as he gave it a little shake. It was a deeper laugh than mine. It reminded me of my dad.

    We heard feet approaching. Our smiles faded as we looked at each other. We turned together.

    Almost everyone was standing there, at a distance. I was pretty sure they hadn’t heard our conversation, just Steven’s laugh. I looked at their faces. Some were in disbelief, others had half smiles, others looked confused. Lots of them were just waiting… for something. Off to the side stood Pam and Jessie. And Tink.

    “All-in” I said.

    “Yeah.”

    His voice was grim.

    Nowhere to go but forward.

    I took a half step to the side and gestured to Steven. Here we go. I tried to sound confident.

    “Hey everybody, this my friend… “

    I paused as I realized they were holding their breath. Wow.

    “... Steven” I said casually, “he’s new.”

    “Hi” he said humbly as he put up a hand.

    Some of them looked relieved, some smiled. The rest turned to each other. I couldn’t hear what they were saying. I pressed on.

    “He has something new to show us” I announced.

    I looked at him, then I looked down. It’s all you, dude, I thought… and hoped.

    He held the backpack to his middle and headed straight for Leah. He kept his head down. I couldn’t blame him.

    She took a step toward him and bounced almost imperceptibly. She was chewing the inside of her lip.

    I hoped he wouldn’t start with an apology, or make it sound like an offering. I was hoping for something… for the group.

    He stopped in front of her and bent a little, then took the roll out, as he held up the little backpack.

    “I made this” he said quietly, as he passed it to her.

    Some of the group turned to each other and whispered. I only heard parts of what they said.

    “... a new backpack?”

    “...made something.”

    “...see what it is?”

    Way to go, dude. Enough of the group heard to put it in the right perspective. Good so far, Now, it’s all Leah.

    Come on girl…

    She took the paper and unrolled it as Jessie and Pam stepped up to her. People were leaning in. Their eyes brightened before it was completely unrolled. Their mouths dropped open as Leah held the ends and pulled it straight. She gasped as her eyes darted all over the artwork.

    “Ohhhhh… “ she looked up at Steven with her mouth still open and then back down at the paper.

    “You… made this?” she said, astonished. She looked back up at him and they stared at each other for a moment. Then her lip quivered, and tears ran down her cheeks.

    Steven’s shoulders slumped. Then she moved her head from side to side and the paper waved in the air like a banner as she opened her arms. Steven dipped down and put a knee on the ground as Leah moved into him and threw her arms around his neck. He held her as she sobbed and put his head down over her. I could barely hear his muffled voice.

    “I’m sorry. I sorry. Please, I’m sorry.”

    The paper draped over his back like… forgiveness.

    The sight of them gave me a warm feeling. As he held the backpack behind her, they looked like father and daughter in front of the first day at school. After everything that happened with the girls yesterday, I knew I wanted my own family.

    I realized I had been holding my breath and sighed in relief as I walked toward Pan and Jessie. They had tears in their eyes, too. I moved in between them and put my arms around them both as we stood over Leah. My eyes felt wet as I remembered that I needed to apologize, too.

    People were coming forward to see the paper and see Leah. They began to circle behind Steven, and I looked at their faces. I saw misty eyes on some girls, half smiles on guys, and a lot of curiosity.

    Steven sensed them and lifted his head. He gave Leah a gentle squeeze for a few moments, then relaxed as she turned her head toward us. A smile came over her wet face and I saw a little bounce. Thank you, God. Leah was Tinker again, Now, I could only watch and see how the rest of this played out.

    Steven opened his arms as Tink bounced back a little.

    “Thank you. It’s so beautiful."

    He smiled at her and stood, as she turned and bounced to us.

    “Look what he made. Isn’t it great?” she exclaimed as she turned into us.

    It went up and down as she held it out for us to look over. Pam put her arm out to Steven and he stepped into her side as Jessie took the backpack, and put her hand on Tink’s head to stabilize the paper.

    “Everyone’s going to love it, right?” she said, still trying to hop.

    Steven looked at me. I nodded and smiled as I put my head down to her.

    “I think it’s awesome… sure they will” I said as I looked around.

    People were now moving in to see the detail. Some of them turned to each other as they nodded their heads.

    Tink bounced away from us on springs and moved from cluster to cluster.

    “Look what he made for us, look... “

    I grinned at Pam and Jessie as they nodded.

    What a victory.

    I looked over at Steven. He met my eyes and waited for me to speak.

    "You’re ass is still mine, on the field... starting today."

    He gave me a little smile as we stepped together and let the girls join the crowd. I leaned toward him and whispered as I pointed at his chest.

    "By the way, if you ever get in a fight and swing with your throwing hand, I will have to slap your silly ass into a coma."

    We chuckled as we headed to my spot. Steven stood next to me as I looked over to Pam and nodded toward Mary. She waved at Mary and headed toward me. Mary moved to Tink and took her hand, then came over to join us. She put her hands in the air.

    "Okay, all you primates and hominids, bring it over here! It’s time to show the new rule.”

    I was so glad I wasn’t in charge. I stayed in my spot as the group collected around Mary.

    Tink squeaked as Mary lifted her up to stand on the table. She held up the paper and bounced slightly. I spoke the words out loud.

    “Treat The Girl Right”

    It sounded good. Other people thought so, too. The girls nodded their heads. A few guys repeated it. Everyone accepted it. Mary gestured to Steven.

    “Steven is going to remind anyone who needs to remember this.”

    He nodded and waved his hand as people turned toward him. I leaned into Pam and whispered.

    “I challenge you to a double-date dare.”

    I pointed my chin toward Tink, then my eyes flicked to Steven. I figured, between Mary, Tink, and Pam, we’d at least work out a double-date.

    Pam got it immediately and waved at Mary again. Mary held her arms up and gestured grandly to Pam as she spoke.

    “Pam has a challenge for us! Take it to the people, Pam!”

    “It’s a Double-date Dare. Me and… Tinker, get to choose.”

    Tink looked over at Pam and nodded as she smiled. Pam gestured to herself.

    “I get to go first and I choose… Dan!”

    I stood up and turned to Pam and bowed. I got a few laughs. Pam gestured to Tink.

    “Take it away, Tinker.”

    Tink bounced on the table as she looked around, then she bounced off the table and over to… Steven!

    “I choose Steven... we get to practice.”

    People laughed as she waved the paper from side to side, and Steven bowed to her. It was perfect. The first bell rang and everyone headed for homeroom.


    We went to the arcade after school for the date. It was about as safe as you could get for a double-date. Steven and I avoided the cool games and played the ones the girls wanted. Steven was a perfect gentleman, and helped Tink reach everything. Pam winked at me a couple times, she knew I was on best behavior, too. Tink even held his hand when we walked home. It was a great start for Steven… and me.

    We took double-date dares for a while until he got a date with Mary. Mary could be a moody bitch sometimes, but she was always great around Steven. They turned out to be really good for each other. She handled him and he mellowed her out. They quickly advanced to BFGF and that was it. I also got in good with the group and took dates whenever I could, until I got together with Jessie.
     
    Foxxx and cherrya like this.
  5. Alan Aspie

    Alan Aspie Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2018
    Messages:
    2,321
    Likes Received:
    2,772
    1. Writing happy characters is easy.

    2. I don't know what you mean by simple and easy background. If you mean life without problems, then there is a problem. You don't get happy people by avoiding problems.

    3. Or maybe bitter people are fooling themselves by being blind to good things in life?

    Have a look to bitter people. See how many of them has over-idealized picture about themselves and their identities. Then have a look to people who are not bitter. See how rare similar over-idealized self pictures are among them. Then... Think.

    4. A happy character who sees world as it is. No problems.
     
    DK3654 likes this.
  6. exweedfarmer

    exweedfarmer Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2016
    Messages:
    814
    Likes Received:
    584
    Location:
    Undecided.
    If you are happy there is no need to change. No change, means no story.
     
    cherrya likes this.
  7. Rancid_Old_Git

    Rancid_Old_Git New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2019
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    13
    I struggle with happy characters too, I decided my struggle with them stems from a basic lack of conflict.
    I have had the same problem more or less every time I've tried to write a happy char.
    I have a lovely 'mumsie' type character who's principle object in life is looking after waifs and strays, they give her a hard time sometimes but she's fundamentally happy, the interest in the character occurs when she is in conflict with one of her waifs and strays. I like her, but she's not MC material in any way I could write it.

    I also have a lovely new character brewing; she's very happy because she's a pathological narcissist with lot's of people stroking her ego. That won't last though and then she won't be happy any more, nor will anyone else for miles around.
     
  8. Matt E

    Matt E Ruler of the planet Omicron Persei 8 Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2014
    Messages:
    657
    Likes Received:
    675
    Location:
    Seattle
    Conflict drives fiction, so characters that are happy often have nothing pushing them. It gets down to why we enjoy fiction. In my opinion, it is because we as readers experience adversity in our own lives, and enjoy reading stories of people overcoming it.
     
    Rancid_Old_Git likes this.
  9. Cirno

    Cirno New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2019
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    25
    I think we tend to imagine people with fairly simple backgrounds as folks who just happened to get lucky and be born with "perfect" lives--but I've come to realize that suffering is an inherent part of the human experience, and what makes people different from one another is how they deal with it. Even if someone seems to be happy go lucky on the surface, they're still probably wondering how they're going to pay the bills, where their life is going or whether or not they're lonely--it's just that they've gotten sorta good at not letting these things ruin their day.

    So, should you write a character without problems? No, but even the happiest of people are going to face adversity in life. It's just harder to see what exactly those problems are when someone is particularly good at keeping them to themself; take that as a challenge rather than a discouragement.
     
    DK3654 and Some Guy like this.
  10. J.T. Woody

    J.T. Woody Amateur Human Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2018
    Messages:
    639
    Likes Received:
    1,058
    i know what you mean. i want to challenge myself to wrap up a story within 20 pages. so i'm outlining and im at the last bullet point and i cant decide whether i want to kill my protagonist or let her live happily ever after (none of my characters so far in anything i've written live happily ever after). It shouldnt be this hard to decide! I naturally want to kill her, but on the other hand, I feel that i should write at least 1 happy ending!
     
  11. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin The bastards hung me in the spring of '25.... Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2017
    Messages:
    5,154
    Likes Received:
    9,245
    Location:
    Rhode Island
    Because most people want to punch perpetually happy people in the face.
     
    Cave Troll and exweedfarmer like this.
  12. cosmic lights

    cosmic lights Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2018
    Messages:
    489
    Likes Received:
    394
    Location:
    Norwich, UK
    It depends what you mean by happy. But if you mean at peace/contented then they aren't always the most interesting characters because they have no ambition, drive or goal to change anything in their lives. "If it isn't broken don't fix it."

    You could however have a character who thinks they are happy and have built up this self delusion that they are content because the things they really want they believe they'll never get so they just try to make themselves happy with what they do have. After doing this so years they have convinced themselves they are happy, seem happy to everyone around them, but still on occasions they get this little ache of misery/loneliness/pain for the thing they couldn't have.

    You can write a very happy character, but make sure you give them a want.
    Or have a happy character then...disaster strikes.
     
  13. suddenly BANSHEES

    suddenly BANSHEES Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2011
    Messages:
    385
    Likes Received:
    147
    Location:
    the wasteland, baby!
    Like other folks have said, no one's happy all the time. Even folks with easy, non-traumatic upbringings have their own issues and struggles.

    I totally get where you're coming from, though. I'm someone who had a very abusive childhood/adolescence/life-in-general up until just a few years ago, and so I have a harder time developing characters who had a "normal" childhood and family life.

    The key difference, I think, is that the scope of what someone thinks is "normal" or "bad" is skewed depending on their experiences. For example - if I were, say, fired suddenly from my job, I'd be a little bummed but it wouldn't destroy me. I've lived through much, much worse. Hell, depending on the job, I might be relieved! But if the same thing happened to my boyfriend, who had a perfectly healthy and stable upbringing, he'd be devastated. It'd be one of The Worst things that's ever happened to him ever. I wouldn't say that he's a "shallow" or "naive" person because he's generally a happy person, it's just that his perspective differs from mine in certain ways.

    And honestly, I wouldn't even say that I'm not a happy person, even though I'm currently struggling with complex-PTSD and Major Depression. My bad experiences have made me appreciate the little things more, and want to try to make the world around me an easier place for others, even in small ways.

    So you can really go either way with a character who tends to be more "happy" than those around them. I think that getting to the core of why they're like that will help you get into their head better.

    And since it sounds like your storyline mirrors my personal life quite a bit - an abuse survivor in a relationship with someone who had a "normal" childhood - please don't hesitate to message me if you'd like! I'd be happy to help!
     
  14. jannert

    jannert Who? Whooo? Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2013
    Messages:
    14,588
    Likes Received:
    16,211
    Location:
    Scotland
    A person with an adoring set of parents and a wonderful childhood may well have a warped vision of what life is like. They can go out into the real world with the belief that their happy situation is universal, and that they will always be lucky in that way. Sometimes that can be a handicap.

    How does a person who grew up in a stable, happy home deal with their own marriage, if the person they marry ends up being abusive, financially irresponsible, an alcoholic? Or someone who cheats on their spouse, is indifferent towards their children, or is actually a criminal? There is a lot of scope for story conflict in this kind of situation.

    Happiness from day one isn't always a blessing. Just as the opposite isn't always a lifelong curse.

    A happy person in an unhappy situation needs to recognise, accept, and deal with what's going on before things become too awful.

    An unhappy person in a happy situation needs to recognise that their situation is different, from what it was and is now actually pretty good. These folk may have trouble trusting their luck, but they can, in time, acquire that trust.
     
    Rancid_Old_Git likes this.
  15. Baeraad

    Baeraad Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2019
    Messages:
    106
    Likes Received:
    93
    As others have said, it's almost impossible to write a character who doesn't want something. Stories need conflict.

    I think the key might be understanding that conflict doesn't necessarily need life-or-death stakes. Happy people can still want stuff - they're just not stressing out about the possibility of not getting them, either because they are zen and accepting of whatever life brings or because they are confident in their ability to win. They can still work hard and be forced to improvise, and they can still have interesting reasons for wanting the things they want. They're just not angsting about it.
     
  16. newjerseyrunner

    newjerseyrunner Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2016
    Messages:
    1,211
    Likes Received:
    1,125
    I suppose someone who's happy all the time has very little depth and will often have no sense of urgency. Imagine putting Bob Ross in a Star Trek episode. Worf: "Captain, there is a second Borg ship coming into sensor range now." Bob: "Wonderful, even Borg ships need a friend."
     
  17. Cephus

    Cephus Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2014
    Messages:
    253
    Likes Received:
    238
    Because happy is boring. Stories don't happen without conflict.
     
  18. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll "It's a messy business." :P Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2015
    Messages:
    15,713
    Likes Received:
    21,701
    Location:
    Where cushions are comfy, and straps hold firm.
    Happy is but one of many states of being, not a singular one
    to be all the time. (As already stated by many).
    You have to ask why are they happy?
    What makes them happy?
    When/what would make them unhappy?
     
    Alan Aspie likes this.

Share This Page