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Inspiration Decks Character Traits 2023-12-06 00:00

Character Trait: Distracted

Character Trait Distracted

To engage your reader, it's important to always show not tell the traits of your characters. The character trait of being distracted refers to a tendency to lose focus or attention easily, becoming sidetracked by external stimuli or internal thoughts. Distracted individuals may struggle to stay on task, forget important details, or have difficulty completing projects. They may also appear scattered or disorganized in their actions and speech.

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

Possible causes of being distracted

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

  • Anxiety or stress
  • Environmental factors such as noise, clutter, or digital distractions
  • Trauma or PTSD
  • Learning disabilities
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Sleep disorders
  • Depression
  • Substance abuse or addiction
  • Chronic pain or illness

Behaviors associated with being distracted

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

  • Struggling to follow conversations or instructions
  • Struggling to maintain focus on one task for a prolonged period
  • Frequently checking phones or other devices
  • Frequently misplacing or losing items
  • Procrastinating on important tasks by engaging in less important activities
  • Frequently losing track of time
  • Being easily sidetracked by external stimuli
  • Frequently interrupting or being interrupted by others
  • Forgetting appointments or important tasks

Attitudes associated with being distracted

You may be able to show distracted through their attitudes.

  • Feeling restless or fidgety
  • Difficulty in completing tasks or following through on commitments
  • Tendency to procrastinate
  • Forgetfulness or absent-mindedness
  • Impulsive behavior or decision-making
  • Feeling overwhelmed or scattered
  • Difficulty in maintaining focus

Thoughts and struggles associated with being distracted

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

  • Worries about how their distraction affects their relationships and work performance
  • Feels guilty or ashamed for not being able to concentrate or remember important details
  • Wishes they could be more present in the moment and enjoy things fully
  • Tries to multitask but ends up not completing any task effectively
  • Gets bored easily and craves novelty and excitement
  • Struggles with staying organized and keeping track of time
  • Easily loses focus on tasks or conversations
  • Feels overwhelmed with the amount of stimuli in their surroundings
  • Feels frustrated when their distraction causes them to miss out on opportunities or experiences

Emotions associated with being distracted

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

  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Inability to focus
  • Impatience
  • Anxiety
  • Frustration
  • Restlessness
  • Forgetfulness
  • Boredom

Facial expressions associated with being distracted

Here are some facial expressions your distracted character may exhibit.

  • Nodding absentmindedly
  • Fidgeting with objects
  • Darting eyes
  • Eyes looking around the room or elsewhere
  • Raised eyebrows
  • Furrowed brow
  • Mouth slightly open or lips pressed together
  • Twirling hair or playing with clothing

Body language associated with being distracted

Here is some body language your distracted character may exhibit.

  • Looking bored or disinterested
  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Playing with objects
  • Interrupting or not fully listening to others
  • Fidgeting or restlessness
  • Looking around frequently
  • Checking phone or other devices frequently
  • Tapping fingers or feet
  • Shifting weight or posture frequently

Behaviors associated with being distracted

Here are some behaviors your distracted character may exhibit.

  • Frequently misplacing or losing items
  • Being easily sidetracked by external stimuli
  • Struggling to maintain focus on one task for a prolonged period
  • Frequently checking phones or other devices
  • Struggling to follow conversations or instructions
  • Procrastinating on important tasks by engaging in less important activities
  • Forgetting appointments or important tasks
  • Frequently interrupting or being interrupted by others
  • Frequently losing track of time

Growth and evolution of distracted characters

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

  • Overcome their addiction to distractions and become more present in the moment
  • Develop better time management skills
  • Learn to actively listen and engage in conversations
  • Learn to appreciate the value of boredom and downtime
  • Become more aware of their surroundings and the people in their lives
  • Develop stronger relationships with others by being more attentive and present in their interactions
  • Learn to prioritize tasks and responsibilities
  • Develop better focus and concentration skills
  • Become more self-aware and reflective of their actions and thoughts

Stereotypes of distracted characters to avoid

Try to avoid writing stereotypical distracted character like these examples.

  • Avoid portraying Distracted characters as rude or dismissive towards others.
  • Avoid making Distracted characters seem incompetent or incapable of completing tasks effectively.
  • Avoid making Distracted characters seem careless or irresponsible in their actions or decisions.
  • Avoid portraying Distracted characters as scatterbrained or flighty individuals with no clear purpose or direction.

Negatives of being distracted

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

  • Inability to prioritize tasks
  • Poor time management skills
  • Impulsiveness
  • Procrastination
  • Difficulty completing tasks
  • Disorganization
  • Forgetfulness
  • Lack of attention to detail
  • Difficulty focusing on tasks

Positives of being distracted

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

  • They often have a creative and imaginative mind.
  • They may be more adaptable and able to handle unexpected changes.
  • They are often very curious and enjoy learning new things.
  • Distracted people can be very good at multitasking.
  • Distracted individuals may be more open to new ideas and experiences.
  • Easily distracted individuals can be very spontaneous and fun-loving.
  • Being easily distracted can make a person more observant of their surroundings.

Verbal expressions of distracted characters

Here are some potential expressions used by distracted characters.

  • "I got lost in my thoughts."
  • "My mind is wandering."
  • "I'm easily sidetracked."
  • "I have too much on my mind."
  • "Wait, what were you saying?"
  • "I'm struggling to pay attention."
  • "I can't focus right now."
  • "I'm sorry, can you repeat that?"
  • "I keep losing track of what I'm doing."

Relationships of distracted characters

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

  • They may struggle with time management, leading to lateness or missed events, which can strain relationships.
  • Distracted people may struggle with maintaining attention during conversations, which can make others feel unheard or unimportant.
  • They may appear scattered or disorganized, which can be perceived as unreliable or untrustworthy by others.
  • Distracted individuals may struggle to be fully present in social situations, leading to feelings of disconnection or isolation from others.
  • They may forget important details or commitments, causing frustration or disappointment in their relationships.
  • Distracted people may unintentionally interrupt or talk over others, creating tension or conflict in their relationships.

Examples from books of characters who are distracted

  • Othello from "Othello"
  • Emma Woodhouse from "Emma"
  • Hamlet from "Hamlet"
  • Don Quixote from "Don Quixote"
  • Holden Caulfield from "The Catcher in the Rye"
  • Elizabeth Bennet from "Pride and Prejudice"
  • Sherlock Holmes from "A Study in Scarlet"
  • Jay Gatsby from "The Great Gatsby"
  • Ignatius J. Reilly from "A Confederacy of Dunces"

Writing exercises for writing distracted characters

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

  • Describe a setting where the distracted character is surrounded by multiple stimuli, such as a busy coffee shop or a crowded street.
  • Describe a moment where the distracted character realizes they've lost something or missed an opportunity because they weren't paying attention.
  • Write a scene where the distracted character forgets an important meeting or task because they were caught up in something else.
  • Write a scene where the distracted character is trying to make a decision but keeps changing their mind because they're easily swayed by external factors.
  • Describe the physical symptoms of the distracted character, such as fidgeting, tapping their foot, or playing with their hair.
  • Create a dialogue where the distracted character has trouble listening to someone because they're thinking about something else entirely.
  • Write a scene where the distracted character is constantly checking their phone or emails while having a conversation with someone.
  • Create a dialogue where the distracted character interrupts the other person frequently and has trouble staying on topic.
  • Write a scene where the distracted character is trying to complete a task but keeps getting sidetracked by other things.
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