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

Character Trait: Civil

Character Trait Civil

To engage your reader, it's important to always show not tell the traits of your characters. The character trait "Civil" is defined as being polite, respectful, and courteous in one's behavior towards others. A civil person is considerate of others' feelings and opinions, even when they disagree with them. They tend to be calm, patient, and diplomatic in their interactions, avoiding confrontation and conflict whenever possible. A civil character is a valuable asset in any story, as they can add depth and nuance to the relationships between characters, as well as provide a positive role model for readers.

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

Possible causes of being civil

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

  • Education and exposure to literature, art, or other forms of media that promote empathy and understanding can also contribute to a Civil personality.
  • Family background and upbringing can influence one's personality and behavior, including a Civil nature.
  • Personal experiences, such as positive interactions with others or exposure to diverse perspectives, can foster a more Civil attitude.
  • Cultural and societal norms can also play a role in shaping one's personality, as certain values and expectations may be emphasized or rewarded.

For detailed feedback on civil characters and other aspects of your writing, try ProWritingAid's plot coherence checker.

Behaviors associated with being civil

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

  • Showing empathy and compassion, and putting yourself in others' shoes
  • Using polite language and gestures, such as saying "please" and "thank you," and making eye contact
  • Being willing to compromise and find common ground, rather than insisting on getting your way
  • Being patient and understanding, especially in difficult or tense situations
  • Communicating clearly and honestly without attacking or belittling others
  • Listening actively and respectfully to others
  • Respecting others' opinions and perspectives, even if you disagree with them
  • Treating others fairly and without prejudice or discrimination

Attitudes associated with being civil

You may be able to show civil through their attitudes.

  • Openness to compromise and finding common ground
  • Honesty and integrity in interactions with others
  • Willingness to listen to others' opinions and perspectives
  • Ability to communicate in a calm and polite manner
  • Empathy towards others' feelings and needs
  • Respectful behavior towards others
  • Avoidance of confrontation or aggression

Thoughts and struggles associated with being civil

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

  • Civility is a core value for them, and they may struggle with how to respond to situations where they feel others are not showing the same level of respect or consideration.
  • They may struggle with their need for control, sometimes at the expense of their relationships with others.
  • They often have a strong sense of duty and responsibility, which can lead to feelings of guilt or self-doubt if they perceive that they have failed in their obligations.
  • A Civil character is often focused on maintaining a sense of order and stability in their environment.
  • They may have a tendency to avoid conflict or confrontation, which can lead to them feeling taken advantage of or resentful.
  • A Civil character may also be prone to perfectionism, which can lead to frustration and disappointment when things don't go according to plan.
  • They may also struggle with finding a balance between their desire for structure and predictability and their need for creativity and spontaneity.

Emotions associated with being civil

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

  • Cooperative
  • Empathetic
  • Kind
  • Polite
  • Courteous
  • Rational
  • Honest
  • Tactful
  • Diplomatic
  • Thoughtful
  • Patient
  • Forgiving
  • Understanding
  • Gracious
  • Trustworthy
  • Considerate
  • Calm
  • Composed
  • Open-minded
  • Balanced
  • Respectful
  • Fair
  • Humble

Facial expressions associated with being civil

Here are some facial expressions your civil character may exhibit.

  • A slight smile or a friendly grin
  • Maintaining eye contact
  • A composed and unruffled appearance even in the face of conflict or disagreement
  • A relaxed and calm expression
  • A raised eyebrow to show interest or curiosity
  • A softening of the facial features to indicate understanding
  • A gentle nod or a small tilt of the head
  • A lack of frowns, scowls, or other negative facial expressions

Body language associated with being civil

Here is some body language your civil character may exhibit.

  • Using a calm and measured tone of voice
  • Using polite gestures such as a hand wave or nod of the head to greet others
  • Smiling or nodding to acknowledge others
  • Maintaining eye contact while speaking
  • Avoiding crossing arms or legs, which can appear defensive or closed off
  • Standing up straight with shoulders relaxed
  • Avoiding interrupting others while they are speaking

For detailed feedback on civil characters and other aspects of your writing, try ProWritingAid's plot coherence checker.

Behaviors associated with being civil

Here are some behaviors your civil character may exhibit.

  • Showing empathy and compassion, and putting yourself in others' shoes
  • Treating others fairly and without prejudice or discrimination
  • Respecting others' opinions and perspectives, even if you disagree with them
  • Listening actively and respectfully to others
  • Communicating clearly and honestly without attacking or belittling others
  • Being willing to compromise and find common ground, rather than insisting on getting your way
  • Using polite language and gestures, such as saying "please" and "thank you," and making eye contact
  • Being patient and understanding, especially in difficult or tense situations

Growth and evolution of civil characters

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

  • They may learn to navigate difficult situations with diplomacy and tact, rather than resorting to aggression or hostility.
  • They may develop stronger relationships with others through respectful communication and active listening.
  • They may become more empathetic and understanding towards others who have different perspectives or experiences.
  • A civil character may become more assertive and confident in their beliefs and values.
  • They may become more self-aware and reflective, recognizing their own biases and prejudices and working to overcome them.
  • They may learn to communicate more effectively and assertively with others, even if they disagree.

Stereotypes of civil characters to avoid

Try to avoid writing stereotypical civil character like these examples.

  • Avoid making Civil characters uninteresting or bland by giving them no personality or depth beyond their polite demeanor.
  • Avoid using the Civil trait as a way to make a character seem weak or timid.
  • Avoid portraying Civil characters as passive or submissive, lacking agency or the ability to take action.
  • Avoid making Civil characters overly polite to the point of being insincere or disingenuous.

Negatives of being civil

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

  • Being civil in all situations can be exhausting and can lead to burnout
  • Being civil can sometimes be interpreted as insincere or fake
  • Focusing too much on being polite can hinder one's ability to express their true thoughts and feelings
  • Being overly civil can lead to being passive and not asserting oneself

Positives of being civil

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

  • Civil behavior can lead to better problem-solving and decision-making in group settings.
  • Civility can enhance one's reputation and build trust with others.
  • Civility fosters a sense of community and social harmony.
  • Civility promotes respectful communication and positive interactions.
  • Civil individuals are more likely to establish and maintain healthy relationships with others.
  • Civil individuals tend to be more empathetic and understanding towards others.
  • Civil behavior can diffuse tense situations and prevent conflicts from escalating.

Verbal expressions of civil characters

Here are some potential expressions used by civil characters.

  • "My apologies"
  • "How can I assist you?"
  • "If you don't mind"
  • "I'm sorry"
  • "May I?"
  • "Please"
  • "Thank you"
  • "After you"
  • "Pardon me"
  • "You're welcome"
  • "Excuse me"

Relationships of civil characters

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

  • They prioritize open communication and active listening in their relationships.
  • They are considerate of others' feelings and needs and aim to be empathetic and supportive.
  • They strive for a balance of power and avoid dominating or being dominated in their relationships.
  • They avoid making assumptions or stereotypes about others and instead approach each person as an individual.
  • They are respectful of others' opinions and beliefs, even if they don't agree with them.
  • They seek to understand others' perspectives and experiences, even if they are different from their own.
  • They value compromise and finding mutually beneficial solutions to conflicts.

Examples from books of characters who are civil

  • Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
  • Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  • Sydney Carton from A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
  • Aslan from The Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis
  • Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • Mr. Stevens from The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
  • Jane Eyre from Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  • Charlotte Lucas from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  • Jean Valjean from Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

Writing exercises for writing civil characters

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

  • Consider the consequences of your character's civility. How do others respond to them? Does their civility help them achieve their goals, or does it hold them back in some way?
  • Consider the social context in which your character operates. How do they interact with others? Are they polite and respectful to everyone they encounter, or do they reserve their civility for certain people?
  • Show your character considering the needs and feelings of others. Have them go out of their way to be helpful or to make others feel comfortable.
  • Start by identifying the key characteristics of the Civil trait. Some common traits associated with this trait include politeness, respectfulness, consideration, and empathy.
  • Use body language and nonverbal cues to convey your character's civility. For example, have them make eye contact, smile, or use a gentle tone of voice.
  • Use dialogue to show your character's civility. Have them use polite language and address others respectfully.
  • Think about how your character responds to conflict or disagreement. Do they remain civil even when they disagree with someone, or do they become angry or confrontational?
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