Optimist or Pessimist? A #NaNoWriMo Question

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Optimist or Pessimist?

Optimism or pessimism: which drives your character?

I have always been an optimist. Even in the most difficult of times, loss of my father, my dog, my health, I have always looked toward the light. I have searched for the positive – for the way out or through.

Characters, like people, are built by surroundings and innate qualities.

“Nature or nurture” is the way scientists put it. Which one drives your character with more force?

We do not grow up in a vacuum (unless you are writing sci-fi and have been watching Hanna). We grow up with influences, but we also grow up with something born in us. This is why you can see people from rough backgrounds or broken homes creating long relationships and solid families.

We are not predetermined and neither is your character.

Explore this when you find yourself wondering what your character will do next.

Which is stronger the nature or the nurture?


If I look back at books and films and plays that I love I find that nature drives many characters. We can’t have it too easy on our characters or there is no story. They will have nothing to strive against or for.

So when we develop our characters we need to understand their basic nature. Do they see the glass as half full or half empty or do they change this outlook as a result of what happens to them?


Harry Potter, for some reason, is very positive and willing to have friends from the beginning. I can only imagine this is due to his having friends at school (before Hogwarts) because it was not due to his home life.

CInderella, like Harry but with more time with her parents before all the wicked stepmom stuff, has a sunny outlook.

Some characters are bent on revenge but ultimately realize the world is something more. Where do the lessons come from?

Explore this with your characters. Who are their influences from a young age? How does this affect how they confront their obstacles?

How did your own influences design your outlook?


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