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

Character Trait: Dreadful

Character Trait Dreadful

To engage your reader, it's important to always show not tell the traits of your characters. The character trait "dreadful" refers to someone or something that causes great fear or apprehension. It can describe a person who is extremely unpleasant or disagreeable, or it can be used to describe a situation or event that is terrifying or causes a sense of impending doom. A character with the trait of "dreadful" can be a powerful addition to a story, as they can create tension and suspense for the reader.

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

Possible causes of being dreadful

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

  • Insecurity or low self-esteem
  • Mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety
  • Societal or cultural factors that value aggression or dominance over kindness and compassion
  • Negative influences from family or peers
  • Personality disorders such as narcissistic personality disorder or antisocial personality disorder
  • Substance abuse or addiction
  • Holding on to grudges or resentments
  • Traumatic experiences in childhood or adulthood
  • Lack of empathy or emotional intelligence
  • Fear of vulnerability or intimacy

Remember, these are just a few possibilities and every individual is unique. It's important to approach character development with sensitivity and avoid perpetuating harmful stereotypes or stigmatizing mental health conditions.

Behaviors associated with being dreadful

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

  • Engaging in shady or criminal activities
  • Displaying a dark sense of humor or sarcasm
  • Manipulating or controlling others for personal gain
  • Showing a disregard for rules or authority
  • Using violence or intimidation to get what they want
  • Exhibiting a lack of empathy or concern for others
  • Behaving in a cruel or sadistic manner
  • Being unpredictable and difficult to read or understand
  • Speaking in a menacing or threatening tone

Attitudes associated with being dreadful

You may be able to show dreadful through their attitudes.

  • Intimidating and imposing
  • Self-serving and manipulative
  • Ruthlessness and aggression
  • Proud and arrogant
  • Unpredictable and chaotic
  • Unforgiving and merciless
  • Unapologetic and unremorseful
  • Fearlessness and recklessness
  • Impatient and impulsive

Thoughts and struggles associated with being dreadful

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

  • Fear and anxiety often consume their thoughts.
  • They may struggle with nightmares or other sleep disturbances.
  • They may be hesitant to take risks or try new things because of their fear of failure.
  • They may be hyper-vigilant and always on guard, constantly scanning their surroundings for potential threats.
  • They may struggle with self-doubt and second-guessing their decisions.
  • They may have physical symptoms like sweating, shaking, or racing heart when confronted with their fears.
  • They may feel like they are not good enough or unworthy of love and acceptance.
  • They may feel isolated and alone because they think others will not understand their fear and anxiety.
  • They may try to avoid situations or people that trigger their fears, which can lead to isolation and social anxiety.

Emotions associated with being dreadful

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

  • Horror
  • Unease
  • Terror
  • Anxiety
  • Revulsion
  • Apprehension
  • Dread
  • Fear
  • Disgust

Facial expressions associated with being dreadful

Here are some facial expressions your dreadful character may exhibit.

  • Rolling eyes
  • Sneering lips
  • Furrowed eyebrows
  • Teeth clenching or grinding
  • Tightened jaw
  • Flared nostrils
  • Squinted eyes
  • Glaring eyes
  • Raised eyebrows and wrinkled forehead

Body language associated with being dreadful

Here is some body language your dreadful character may exhibit.

  • Heavy and forceful footsteps
  • Frowning or scowling
  • Slow and deliberate movements
  • Clenched jaw and tight facial expression
  • Tight and aggressive gestures, such as pointing or fist clenching
  • Avoiding eye contact or turning away from others
  • Tense and rigid posture
  • Defensive body language, such as crossing arms or legs
  • Narrowed eyes and intense gaze

Behaviors associated with being dreadful

Here are some behaviors your dreadful character may exhibit.

  • Using violence or intimidation to get what they want
  • Being unpredictable and difficult to read or understand
  • Exhibiting a lack of empathy or concern for others
  • Manipulating or controlling others for personal gain
  • Behaving in a cruel or sadistic manner
  • Showing a disregard for rules or authority
  • Displaying a dark sense of humor or sarcasm
  • Engaging in shady or criminal activities
  • Speaking in a menacing or threatening tone

Growth and evolution of dreadful characters

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

  • Overcoming past traumas or experiences that have shaped them negatively
  • Confronting and overcoming their fears or weaknesses
  • Finding a sense of purpose or meaning beyond their own interests
  • Learning to control their negative impulses or tendencies
  • Developing a sense of empathy or compassion for others
  • Learning to trust others or forming stronger bonds with existing allies
  • Recognizing the consequences of their actions and striving to make amends or improve
  • Developing a stronger moral compass or sense of ethics
  • Gaining a deeper understanding of themselves and their motivations

Stereotypes of dreadful characters to avoid

Try to avoid writing stereotypical dreadful character like these examples.

  • Avoid making your Dreadful character too perfect or invincible, as this can make them less interesting and relatable to readers.
  • Avoid giving your Dreadful character a predictable backstory or motive that is solely based on revenge or desire for power.
  • Avoid making your Dreadful character a one-dimensional villain with no depth or complexity.
  • Avoid making your Dreadful character a caricature or stereotype of a certain group or identity (e.g. race, gender, sexuality, etc.).
  • Avoid making your Dreadful character overly violent or sadistic without any justification or explanation for their behavior.

Negatives of being dreadful

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

  • May struggle to build relationships and connections with others
  • May struggle with authority and following rules
  • Can lead to isolation and loneliness
  • May be feared and avoided by people
  • Can be seen as unapproachable or untrustworthy
  • Difficulty expressing vulnerability or emotions
  • Intimidating and scary to others
  • Tendency to be aggressive or violent

Positives of being dreadful

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

  • Dreadful characters can be a vehicle for exploring darker aspects of the human experience, which can be cathartic or thought-provoking for readers.
  • Dreadful characters can serve as a foil to more virtuous characters, allowing for a deeper exploration of themes and moral dilemmas.
  • They can be a source of conflict and tension in the plot, keeping readers engaged and invested in the story.
  • Dreadful characters can be intriguing and captivating to readers because they are often complex and multi-dimensional.
  • They can be a valuable tool for exploring the consequences of negative behavior and choices, and can serve as a cautionary tale for readers.
  • They can add a unique and interesting dynamic to a story, especially if they are not the typical protagonist or antagonist.

Verbal expressions of dreadful characters

Here are some potential expressions used by dreadful characters.

  • Harsh criticism or insults
  • Intimidating body language or tone of voice
  • Blaming others for their own mistakes
  • Refusing to take responsibility for their actions
  • Disrespectful or rude behavior towards others
  • Threats of violence or harm
  • Frequent complaining or grumbling
  • Negative or pessimistic outlook on life
  • Sarcastic or mocking comments

Relationships of dreadful characters

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

  • They may also struggle with trust issues, leading to a lack of intimacy and closeness in their relationships.
  • Dreadful people may struggle with empathy and fail to understand the perspectives of those around them.
  • They may be dismissive and belittling towards their partners, friends, or family members.
  • Dreadful people may engage in manipulative behavior, such as guilt-tripping or gaslighting those around them.
  • They might also have a pattern of being emotionally distant or cold towards others, making it difficult for them to form deep connections.
  • Dreadful people might have a tendency to dominate and control others in their relationships.
  • In some cases, they may exhibit violent or abusive behavior towards others.

Examples from books of characters who are dreadful

  • Voldemort from "Harry Potter" series by J.K. Rowling
  • Sauron from "The Lord of the Rings" by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Hannibal Lecter from "The Silence of the Lambs" by Thomas Harris
  • Patrick Bateman from "American Psycho" by Bret Easton Ellis
  • Tom Ripley from "The Talented Mr. Ripley" by Patricia Highsmith
  • Nurse Ratched from "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" by Ken Kesey
  • Humbert Humbert from "Lolita" by Vladimir Nabokov
  • Cathy Ames from "East of Eden" by John Steinbeck
  • Count Dracula from "Dracula" by Bram Stoker

Writing exercises for writing dreadful characters

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

  • Write a scene where your character's Dreadful behavior harms someone close to them. How do they react? Do they feel remorse or justify their actions?
  • Write a scene where your Dreadful character is confronted by someone who challenges their beliefs or behavior. Do they listen and change, or dig in their heels?
  • Write a scene where your Dreadful character is in a position of power over someone vulnerable. How do they use that power? Do they abuse it or show compassion?
  • Create a character who is the opposite of your Dreadful character. Write a scene where they clash, and explore the reasons behind their different approaches.
  • Write a scene where your Dreadful character is forced to work with someone they despise. How do they handle the situation? Do they learn anything from the experience?
  • Write a scene where your Dreadful character is faced with the consequences of their actions. Do they take responsibility or try to shift the blame?
  • Write a scene where your Dreadful character is shown kindness or empathy by someone unexpected. How do they react? Do they resist or accept the gesture?
  • Start by identifying the root cause of your character's Dreadful behavior. What past experiences or beliefs have led them to be this way? Write a scene or monologue where the character reflects on these factors.
  • Put your character in a situation where they are forced to confront their Dreadful behavior. How do they react? Write a scene where they struggle to control themselves or lash out.
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