How Do You Write Characters That Are Completely Different From Each Other?

Forums Fiction Characters How Do You Write Characters That Are Completely Different From Each Other?

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    Kylie S. Pierce

    So, I just created two characters (haven’t put them in the story quite yet) that are REALLY different from each other.

    Teaghan is very reserved, and a rule-follower to one of the highest extremes you can get. She is very level-headed, and always assesses her surrounding before heading in. She is also older (thirteen). Her personality is ISTJ-A.

    On the other hand, you have Ruse. Ruse is a reckless, mischievous twelve year old boy, who listens to no one. He loves pranks, and I’m pretty sure he’s going to be at least half leprechaun. His personality is ESFP-A.

    These two characters are going to have to work closely together, along with the MC and at least two other kids. The only trouble is how exactly are they gonna interact and how is it going to effect the others? I need help!

    "The seed of the New World smolders. Bear the Flame."~The Green Ember.

    Taylor Clogston

    I’m not entirely sure what the scope of the question is. Can you give a few more details about what you foresee as being the hardest aspects of writing them?

    When you have characters who might not get along well on their own (and who you need to work together), it’s important to give them shared values and objectives. Highlight not only the different ways they identify and approach problems, but also the fact that they, say, love the same kind of food, both want to protect innocent people, would never lie to their friends.

    The friction between them will probably create issues within the character group, and if it becomes distracting to other characters, someone can call them out and show how their behavior is causing problems for other people, which is another thing they might both react to in a different way while both having the end goal of “get along better with the other person.”

    When all else fails, nothing draws different people together like a common enemy.

    "...the one with whom he so sought to talk has already interceded for him." -The Master and Margarita


    Hey @kylie-wingfeather !

    Before I get started, is Ruse pronounced like the word (rues/ruze) or like a rhyme with goose (roose)?  Sorry, that’s just gonna distract me until I figure it out.

    Alright, so Teaghan is straight-laced and responsible while Ruse is mischievous and a bit reckless.  Probably an oversimplification, but that appears to be what we’re working with.  Ruse sounds like the type to be very spontaneous and wild (though how wild is up to you).  This will play against Teaghan’s nature and cause personality clashes.  Now, there are a couple of ways you can play these clashes, depending on the relationship you want the two to have and they way you want to portray Teaghan.
    Option A: Teaghan, being exceptionally level-headed, takes Ruse’s mischief calmly in stride and handles it firmly without being too bothered by it.  This is great if you want Teaghan to come across as very calm and mature.
    Option B: Teaghan, being level-headed but still young, mostly manages to deal with Ruse’s antics but is still frustrated by them.  This is more of the middle road.
    Option C: Teaghan, being very straight-laced, is irked by Ruse’s shenaniganry and Ruse easily gets under her skin.  This would work if Teaghan still needs some growing up to do.
    Ruse also has a few options of portrayal.
    Option A: Ruse, being playful, pulls pranks and such, but he also knows there are times when such horseplay is inappropriate and unwelcome.  This is if Ruse is fairly mature.
    Option B: Ruse, being mischievous, messes around frequently but can still understand that sometimes it’s a bad idea and if his actions lead to more serious consequences he’ll be appropriately apologetic for his actions.  This is more of a middle ground where he still makes mistakes but is usually reasonable.
    Option C: Ruse, being rebellious and reckless, is obstinately contrarian and can end up getting the group into a fair bit of trouble, potentially with disastrous or tragic consequences.  This is if he needs a lot of maturing.

    Hopefully that was of help to you!  If needed I have several characters of varying dispositions that I could utilize to make some sample scenarios and interactions.  Let me know if you think that’d help.

    "Remember, you go nowhere by accident. Wherever you go, God is sending you." - Rev. Peter R. Hale

    Arindown (Gracie)

    @kylie-wingfeather I love this!

    Skylarryn nailed it with some options, but I just wanted to say that Teaghan and Ruse sound amazing. It is my <i>absolutely </i>favorite thing to write characters that are different from each-other. I literally am not having any fun if two characters aren’t rubbing on each-other in all the wrong ways.😆

    My advice (coming from a punster, so…) is to just have fun with it. Let them be themselves, and enjoy the journey.

    Not all those who wander are lost.

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