Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A to Z Challenge: Quiet Characters

Wow! Two thirds of the way through the Challenge! How many of you managed to stick to it so far? Congrats to you who did! ^_^

Have you ever written a quiet character into your story?

Doorways has one. And... well... it's a challenge. It's just that his best friend is a very angry and loud person. So he sometimes just fades into the scenery. It used to bother me, but now it doesn't because that's the way he is. He likes taking a step back so that his best friend in the world can get the shine he so desperately needs. When he does speak, he tends to hint at some profound depths in his soul (to me, in any case).

He used to be more talkative in the rough draft, but somewhere in the start of the rewrite, he became quiet. Almost a shadow behind his friend. It concerned me, because I was starting to worry that he was becoming redundant. But, I was surprised when one of my CPs pointed out that she liked him more than his talkative friend.

I realized then that he needed to be quiet. It's what his friendship depends on. But from the writer's perspective, he's necessary because he's the one that subtly tones down James's reactions. He's also the channel through which James reveals a lot about himself.

So he stays. And you know, I love him.

Even if I wish he would just stand up for himself sometimes.


  1. I like quiet characters. One of my favorite characters in Harry Potter is Neville because in the beginning he is so quiet and helpless and nothing seems to go his way--but he helps Harry and the entire world in so many ways by the end of the series!

    I've got quite a few quiet characters. ...More like tsundere, really, but.... oh well!

  2. The quieter ones often have more depth than their noisier companions.

  3. If I have quieter ones it usually means they are dealing with some strong stuff. They need to be to counteract the quiet. They are hard to write well.

  4. I like quiet characters, they're the observers, the thinkers and they often have hidden depth and strength which the main character relies on without even realizing it.

  5. I'm assuming you're talking about Ward. I like him much better than James so far, too, although Callan is my favorite.

  6. I like a well written quiet character, they bring balance to a noisy world.

  7. Quiet characters can be so wonderful. They can have so much impact on the story in the things they don't say or their quiet way of doing things.

  8. I like quiet characters. It might mean they have some kind of mysterious secret. :)

  9. I wrote a sketch with a character that only said "Yo." Led to nice pacing and a splash of humor.

  10. The best moments are when a normally quiet character suddenly rises to the occasion and demonstrates levels of strength and depth of character you never would have suspected from them.

  11. Great Q post. I'm having that same thing in my current WIP. My main character is a pretty shy middle-aged guy, and though I adore him, when they're quieter its harder to get their true personality across on the page. Its worth it though, I think, when it works.

    Sarah Allen
    (my creative writing blog)

  12. Oh, I want to meet your quiet character. What a great idea for a Q-post. Glad to meet you.

    I’m A-Z Blogging on Langley Writes about Writing and Langley’s Rich and Random Life

  13. What an interesting evolution of your character. And nice to get feedback that you did it right.

  14. Sounds intriguing; we need those people in our lives and in books~

  15. I loved Neville, Devin! The best of it all is that he went right back, bloodstains and all, and silently ate cereal with the sword next to him. Was awesome! ^_^

    Paula I agree with you there. Depth of feeling too, as the characters will find out. :-)

    Laura P that is so true. My character is dealing with some big stuff.

    Cathy, that is so true. James has yet to realize how much his friend does for him.

    Hehehe Cherie, yes I am. I also like him a lot more than James. For me, he's always this guy that's in the background, just comforting me with the fact that he's there. In fact, he makes me tolerate James enough to find out who he is. Because if a great guy like Ward wants to be his friend, there HAS to be a reason. (Beyond the one I obviously know.)

    Bish, I agree with you there.

    Shelly: :-D

    I agree with you, Laura J. Ward definitely has an effect on the story, even though most characters miss it.

    Indeed, Laura M, indeed. I actually have a saying about being careful about quiet guys. They're usually the ones with four black belts and a chip on the shoulder. ;-P

    Ann that's a good point. Because I know that keeping quiet around James would take a loooooot of discipline and strength. I actually have a character that would put James into a world of pain, if he didn't discover his self-preservation mode.

    LOL Luana. I have this picture in my head where that character bursts forth with profound wisdom towards the end of a story. And the other characters reacting as follows: "... YOU TALK?!"

    Oh yes, Sarah M, I can't wait. ^_^

    Sarah A, I agree that it is somewhat tricky to write a quiet Main Character. My saving grace is the fact that I have four other relatively chatty characters.

    Langley, I might introduce him sometime. :-)

    Hehehe yep, Michael. Minus the weed and plus swords, they could be twins. ;-P

    Theresa, it was great to know that my cp's appreciate his presence.

    Ella, that's so true. I like my more quiet friends. :-)


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