Can Your Characters be Themselves

Hello lovely writers! I hope you are all having a fantastic day today. As you read this I am either at the podiatrist getting a toenail removed or have just gotten home from said removal procedure and am teaching myself how to walk with a numbed foot and possibly exist as a human being with feelings of pain when I start my first day of work on Friday. Yes, I finally have a job 🙂

As I said, I finally have a job. It seems like it will be a fun job because it is work in a store that I really like but this job, like most jobs I’ve worked before, does not allow visible tattoos. And so I have to cover them up, which I am very happy doing, but the cover up situation and various employers’ policies on tattoos got me thinking about writing and characters.

There are some situations in real life, aka, what you experience, that may prevent you from being your true self. For me, I’m not allowed to show off my tattoos 100% of the time. For someone else it might be sexual orientation. Whatever the block is, if it’s work, family, society, it’s a good idea to think about your character and if they too have similar situations where they cannot be their true selves 100% of the time.

So I have a few questions for you:

  1. What is keeping your character(s) from being themselves?
  2. How does your character overcome or navigate this element?

Feel free to share your thoughts on your character development and answer these questions in the comments.


If you’re already a poetry enthusiast or a fiction writer looking to learn more about the wonderful world of poetry, check out Kathy’s latest article, How Exploring Poetry Can Improve Prose.

Want to incorporate more realism in your work? Check out RicoChey’s article, Bathroom Breaks, a Quickie.

The deadline for the August Week 1 Contest is Sunday, August 9 at 11:45 p.m. EDT.

You still have time to vote for your favorite contest entry for the last week of July. Polls close on August 6, at 11:45 p.m. EDT.


About 409writinglife

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2 Responses to Can Your Characters be Themselves

  1. 1)What is keeping your character(s) from being themselves?
    2)How does your character overcome or navigate this element?

    Realistically (not necessarily justifiably), there is always going to be some barrier or another obstructing a person’s individual self-expression. So, it makes sense that such a thing would exist in fiction. I like the questions you pose, and think they deserve lengthy discussion.

    With that said, the few characters I’ve written possess little to no finesse in such navigation. Max’s memories have been so thoroughly manipulated, he can’t quite discern what is real and what isn’t. So, in moments of freedom and (sometimes mistaken clarity) he reverts to his most precious memories and all the desires and goals those memories tell him were important, and attempts to retrace the steps he took … subconsciously, though, questions nag at him, and some terrible problem always arises as a side-effect to him stubbornly trying to revisit the past.

    Another character, Holly, made a promise to her husband that she would quit her dangerous job by the age of thirty-one and settle down to have a family with him. When that day comes, she just can’t follow through … she and her husband have a terrible argument. It’s not until after tragedy strikes that she realizes those hateful words she spoke to John were the last he ever heard her speak, and it’s not until much later that she realizes he was hiding a lot of secrets that would have seriously jeopardized any attempt they could have made to “settle down and have a family”. She spends a year torn up by guilt and resentment … and never really copes directly with the emotional blow back, never really regains the strength that made her so good at the dangerous career she used to thrive on. She is made weak and vulnerable by regret and shame. Enter the zombie apocalypse OMG!


    Neither of these characters meet an easy opportunity to regain themselves, to express themselves as they always dreamed would be possible. But, I guess you could say, those unique individual qualities they never got to express when they wanted to most are precisely what helps them survive in the midst of human monsters (and other terrible circumstances).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. skyllairae says:

    Those two sound like really complex characters and have a lot to work out 🙂 Thanks for sharing!


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