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Inspiration Decks Character Traits 2023-12-02 00:00

Character Trait: Arbitrary

Character Trait Arbitrary

To engage your reader, it's important to always show not tell the traits of your characters. The character trait Arbitrary is used to describe someone who acts or makes decisions without a clear or logical reason. An arbitrary person may seem unpredictable or capricious, and their actions may be difficult to understand or anticipate. This trait can add complexity and depth to a character, but it can also make them frustrating or confusing for readers. When writing a character with the trait of arbitrariness, it is important to give them some underlying motivation or reasoning for their behavior, even if it is not immediately apparent.

Contents:
  1. Possible causes of being arbitrary
  2. Behaviors associated with being arbitrary
  3. Attitudes associated with being arbitrary
  4. Thoughts and struggles associated with being arbitrary
  5. Emotions associated with being arbitrary
  6. Facial expressions associated with being arbitrary
  7. Body language associated with being arbitrary
  8. Behaviors associated with being arbitrary
  9. Growth and evolution of arbitrary characters
  10. Stereotypes of arbitrary characters to avoid
  11. Negatives of being arbitrary
  12. Positives of being arbitrary
  13. Verbal expressions of arbitrary characters
  14. Relationships of arbitrary characters
  15. Examples from books of characters who are arbitrary
  16. Writing exercises for writing arbitrary characters

Possible causes of being arbitrary

You might want to weave these into your character's back story to build a more believable character.

  • Lack of strong personal values or principles
  • Desire for constant change or novelty in life
  • Difficulty making decisions or sticking to decisions already made
  • Rebellion against authority or societal norms
  • Exposure to unpredictable or chaotic environments during childhood or adolescence
  • Fear of commitment or being tied down
  • Genetic or neurological factors that influence behavior and personality
  • Traumatic experiences or events that have caused a sense of unpredictability or instability in life
  • Insecurity or low self-esteem leading to a need for attention or validation

For detailed feedback on arbitrary characters and other aspects of your writing, try ProWritingAid's fiction manuscript feedback.

Behaviors associated with being arbitrary

You may be able to show your character's trait of arbitrary by using these.

  • Refusing to follow rules or guidelines
  • Making unreasonable demands or requests without justification
  • Changing one's mind frequently without explanation
  • Being difficult to work with due to inflexibility or stubbornness
  • Ignoring evidence or facts that contradict one's beliefs or opinions
  • Being unpredictable and inconsistent in behavior or actions
  • Making decisions without a clear or logical reason
  • Showing favoritism or prejudice towards certain people or things

Attitudes associated with being arbitrary

You may be able to show arbitrary through their attitudes.

  • Unpredictable
  • Inconsistent
  • Indecisive
  • Fickle
  • Unreliable
  • Whimsical
  • Impulsive
  • Non-committal
  • Capricious

Thoughts and struggles associated with being arbitrary

Here are some ideas for things your arbitrary character may think or struggle with.

  • Possible feelings of isolation or loneliness due to their unpredictable nature
  • Struggling to make decisions due to a fear of making the wrong choice
  • A potential for recklessness or disregard for consequences, leading to dangerous or harmful behavior
  • Feeling a lack of control or direction in their life
  • A tendency to be easily swayed by the opinions or influence of others, without a clear sense of their own values or beliefs
  • Difficulty in forming lasting relationships due to a tendency to be impulsive or unreliable
  • A desire for spontaneity and novelty, but also a fear of the unknown or unfamiliar

Emotions associated with being arbitrary

Here are some ideas for emotions your arbitrary character may experience.

  • Indecisive
  • Inconsistent
  • Unreliable
  • Careless
  • Irrational
  • Impulsive
  • Capricious
  • Unreasonable
  • Unpredictable

Facial expressions associated with being arbitrary

Here are some facial expressions your arbitrary character may exhibit.

  • A quizzical or questioning look
  • A tilted head
  • Narrowed or squinted eyes
  • A smirk or sneer
  • A half-smile
  • Raised eyebrows
  • A raised chin
  • A blank or neutral expression

Body language associated with being arbitrary

Here is some body language your arbitrary character may exhibit.

  • Fidgeting or shifting around frequently
  • Ignoring or dismissing others' opinions or ideas
  • Making sudden, unpredictable movements
  • Appearing indecisive or unsure
  • Lack of eye contact or avoiding direct communication
  • Being easily distracted or losing focus
  • Changing one's mind frequently or abruptly
  • Interrupting or talking over others
  • Speaking in a hesitant or uncertain tone

For detailed feedback on arbitrary characters and other aspects of your writing, try ProWritingAid's fiction manuscript feedback.

Behaviors associated with being arbitrary

Here are some behaviors your arbitrary character may exhibit.

  • Ignoring evidence or facts that contradict one's beliefs or opinions
  • Showing favoritism or prejudice towards certain people or things
  • Being difficult to work with due to inflexibility or stubbornness
  • Making decisions without a clear or logical reason
  • Refusing to follow rules or guidelines
  • Being unpredictable and inconsistent in behavior or actions
  • Making unreasonable demands or requests without justification
  • Changing one's mind frequently without explanation

Growth and evolution of arbitrary characters

Here are some ways that your arbitrary character may grow and evolve over time.

  • Challenge their own beliefs or assumptions and become more open-minded
  • Develop new skills or abilities that help them overcome challenges
  • Learn to overcome their fears or insecurities
  • Develop a sense of purpose or motivation that drives their actions and decisions
  • Learn to trust others and build meaningful relationships
  • Break free from societal or cultural expectations that have held them back
  • Develop a greater sense of empathy or compassion towards others
  • Take risks and embrace change, leading to personal transformation
  • Become more self-aware and reflective, leading to personal growth and self-improvement

Stereotypes of arbitrary characters to avoid

Try to avoid writing stereotypical arbitrary character like these examples.

  • Avoid traits that are solely there to serve the plot or the needs of other characters.
  • Avoid traits that are inconsistent with the character's background, personality, or motivations.
  • Avoid traits that are overly predictable or clichéd.
  • Avoid one-dimensional traits that reduce the character to a caricature.
  • Avoid traits that are used solely to make the character likable or relatable without adding depth or complexity.
  • Avoid stereotypes based on race, gender, sexuality, or any other identity marker.

Negatives of being arbitrary

Here are some potential negatives of being arbitrary. Note: These are subjective and some might also be seen as positives depending on the context.

  • Unpredictable behavior
  • Tendency to be seen as unreliable or flaky
  • Lack of consistency
  • Inability to form lasting relationships
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Difficulty working in a team or collaborative setting
  • Lack of direction or purpose
  • Tendency to be perceived as selfish or self-centered
  • Disregard for rules or traditions

Positives of being arbitrary

Here are some potential positives of being arbitrary. Note: These are subjective and some might also be seen as negatives depending on the context.

  • They can also be a good way to challenge the status quo and question authority.
  • Arbitrary characters can be a good representation of free-spirited individuals who don't conform to societal norms or expectations.
  • It can add an element of unpredictability that can keep your readers engaged.
  • Being arbitrary can lead to unexpected and unique choices for your character.
  • Arbitrary characters can be fun and humorous, bringing a lighthearted tone to your story.

Verbal expressions of arbitrary characters

Here are some potential expressions used by arbitrary characters.

  • "It's all the same to me"
  • "I'll do what I want"
  • "Whatever"
  • "I'll decide on a whim"
  • "I'm unpredictable"
  • "I don't care"
  • "I make my own rules"
  • "It doesn't matter"
  • "Who cares?"

Relationships of arbitrary characters

Here are some ways that being arbitrary could affect your character's relationships.

  • Arbitrary people may struggle with forming deep and meaningful connections with others.
  • They may struggle to commit to long-term relationships or may prioritize their independence over building close connections with others.
  • They may come across as aloof or detached in their interactions with others.
  • Due to their tendency to prioritize logic over emotions, they may have difficulty understanding and empathizing with others' feelings.

Examples from books of characters who are arbitrary

  • Winston Smith from "1984" by George Orwell - introspective, rebellious, and disillusioned
  • Elizabeth Bennet from "Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen - witty, confident, and independent
  • Scarlett O'Hara from "Gone with the Wind" by Margaret Mitchell - headstrong, manipulative, and resilient
  • Jay Gatsby from "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald - charismatic, mysterious, and tragic
  • Holden Caulfield from "The Catcher in the Rye" by J.D. Salinger - rebellious, cynical, and troubled
  • Atticus Finch from "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee - wise, principled, and compassionate
  • Harry Potter from "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" by J.K. Rowling - brave, loyal, and determined
  • Katniss Everdeen from "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins - resourceful, resilient, and selfless
  • Sherlock Holmes from "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes" by Arthur Conan Doyle - brilliant, analytical, and aloof

Writing exercises for writing arbitrary characters

Here are some writing exercises you might try for learning to write arbitrary characters.

  • Have the character frequently change their mind about their goals or desires, without any clear reason or logic.
  • Have the character choose their outfit for the day by blindly picking items out of their closet.
  • Write a scene where the character completely changes their opinion or belief system overnight, without any clear reason or evidence.
  • Write a scene where the character makes a decision based solely on a random number generator or flip of a coin.
  • Write a scene where the character takes a risk or makes a bold move without any clear motivation or reason.
  • Write a scene where the character decides to do something on a whim, without any prior planning or thought.
  • Write a scene where the character takes an action that seems illogical or irrational, simply because it feels right to them.
  • Have the character engage in seemingly random or nonsensical hobbies or interests.
  • Have the character frequently break rules or norms, simply because they feel like it.
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