To engage your reader, it's important to always show, not tell, the traits of your characters.
The trait of being determined refers to a person's unwavering focus on achieving a goal or objective, despite any obstacles or challenges that may arise. It is a quality that allows someone to stay committed to their aspirations, no matter how difficult the path may be. Determined individuals possess a strong sense of purpose and are often willing to put in the necessary effort and hard work to succeed. They are not easily deterred by setbacks or failures, and they possess a resilient spirit that helps them to push through adversity.
Possible Sources of a Determined Character
You might want to weave these into your character's backstory to build a more believable character:
Belief in their own abilities and potential for success
Desire for control or autonomy in their life and decisions
Past experiences of overcoming challenges or adversity
Internal drive to achieve goals and overcome obstacles
Strong sense of purpose or passion for a particular goal or pursuit
High level of self-discipline and focus
Attitudes Linked to Determination
You may be able to show determination through a character's attitudes:
Thoughts and Struggles Associated With Being Determined
Here are some ideas for things your determined character may think or struggle with.
Refusing to give up or be deterred by obstacles or setbacks
Balancing their determination with the need for self-care and rest
Struggling with feelings of guilt or inadequacy if they feel they are not making progress toward their goals
Feeling frustrated or angry when others try to discourage or dissuade them
Struggling with self-doubt and fear of failure, but pushing through anyway
Setting clear goals and working tirelessly to achieve them
Being willing to take risks and make sacrifices to reach their goals
Being fiercely independent and self-reliant, but also valuing support and encouragement from others
Feeling a strong sense of purpose and direction in life
Emotions Associated With Determination
Here are some ideas for emotions your determined character may experience.
Facial Expressions Linked to Determination
Here are some facial expressions your determined character may exhibit:
Firmly set jaw
Body Language Associated With Being Determined
Here is some body language your determined character may exhibit:
Tense and rigid muscles, especially in the jaw or other areas of the body
A tendency to speak in a clear and direct tone, with a sense of conviction
A lack of hesitation or second-guessing in movements and actions
A focused and intense gaze, often with narrowed eyes
A tendency to lean forward or move closer to a goal or target
Clenched fists or a tight grip on objects
A purposeful stride with a strong and confident gait
A firm and steady posture with shoulders back and head held high
Behaviors Related to Being Determined
Here are some behaviors your determined character may exhibit:
Putting in consistent effort and hard work to overcome challenges
Displaying a strong will and unwavering resolve to achieve desired outcomes
Being persistent and patient in the face of difficulty or adversity
Staying focused on the task at hand and avoiding distractions
Setting clear goals and pursuing them relentlessly
Taking calculated risks and pushing beyond one's comfort zone to achieve success
Refusing to give up or be deterred by obstacles or setbacks
Remaining optimistic and positive, even when facing uncertainty or doubt
Growth and Evolution of Determined Characters
Here are some ways that your determined character may grow and evolve over time:
Overcoming obstacles and setbacks: A determined character will face challenges, but their determination will help them persevere and continue to work toward their goals, even when things get tough. As they overcome these obstacles, they will become stronger and more resilient.
Building relationships: Determination can also involve working with others toward a common goal. A determined character may develop strong relationships with others who share their passion or who can provide support and encouragement.
Learning from mistakes: Determination often involves a willingness to try again and learn from failure. A determined character will use their setbacks as opportunities to grow and improve rather than giving up or becoming discouraged.
Developing new skills or abilities: A determined character will push themselves to learn and improve, whether it's through practice, study, or seeking out new opportunities. As they acquire new skills and abilities, they will become more confident and capable.
Gaining new perspectives: A determined character may need to adjust their approach or mindset in order to achieve their goals. By seeking out new perspectives or listening to others, they may gain insight that helps them overcome challenges and succeed.
Stereotypes of Determined Characters to Avoid
Try to avoid writing stereotypical determined characters like these examples:
Portraying the character as stubborn and unwilling to listen to others' advice or suggestions
Making the character too perfect and flawless in their determination, without any weaknesses or moments of doubt
Creating a character who is so focused on their goals that they become ruthless or cruel to others
Writing a character who is solely driven by their determination and lacks any other personality traits or interests
Depicting the character as always successful in achieving their goals, without any setbacks or failures
Negatives of Being Determined
Here are some potential negatives of being determined. Note: These are subjective, and some might also be seen as positives depending on the context.
Single-mindedness: Being too determined can make a person obsessed with achieving their goals, and they may neglect other important aspects of their life, such as relationships, health, and personal growth.
Impatience: Determined individuals may become frustrated when they don't see immediate results, leading to a lack of patience and potentially giving up too soon.
Risk of burnout: When someone is too determined, they may not take breaks or time off, which can lead to burnout and a loss of motivation.
Stubbornness: Determined individuals may refuse to change course even when it's clear that their approach is not working. This can lead to missed opportunities and a lack of flexibility.
Tendency to overwork: People who are determined to succeed may push themselves too hard, working long hours and neglecting their physical and mental health.
Positives of Being Determined
Here are some potential positives of being determined. Note: These are subjective, and some might also be seen as negatives depending on the context.
Inspires others to follow and be motivated by their actions
Demonstrates a strong work ethic and determination to succeed
Fosters a sense of self-confidence and self-efficacy
Builds a reputation for reliability and trustworthiness
Builds resilience and perseverance in the face of obstacles and challenges
Improves problem-solving skills by finding creative solutions to overcome obstacles
Increases motivation and focus
Helps individuals achieve their goals and dreams
Encourages individuals to take action and make progress toward their objectives
Verbal Expressions of Determined Characters
Here are some potential expressions used by determined characters:
"I'm not backing down."
"I refuse to quit."
"I'm determined to succeed."
"I'll keep going."
"I can do this."
"Failure is not an option."
"I won't give up."
"I'll find a way."
"I'm committed to this goal."
Relationships of Determined Characters
Here are some ways that being determined could affect your character's relationships:
They are generally goal-oriented and focused, which can sometimes mean that they prioritize their own ambitions over the needs or desires of others.
They tend to be highly motivated and driven, which can be inspiring to those around them but can also create pressure on others to keep up with their pace.
They can be competitive and strive to be the best, which can sometimes create tension in relationships where others feel they are being compared or judged.
They value hard work and dedication, and may have little patience for those who do not share these values.
They are often persistent and unrelenting in the pursuit of their goals, which can sometimes lead to conflict with others who have different priorities or values.
They are often seen as strong-willed and self-assured, which can sometimes come across as intimidating or domineering to others.
Examples From Books of Characters Who Are Determined
Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Jane Eyre from Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Scarlett O'Hara from Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Lisbeth Salander from The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
Holden Caulfield from The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Frodo Baggins from The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
Writing Exercises for Writing Determined Characters
Here are some writing exercises you might try for learning to write determined characters:
Think of a character who wants to achieve a goal but has faced many obstacles. Write a scene where they face a particularly difficult challenge and show how their determination helps them overcome it.
Create a character who is determined to help someone else, even if it means putting themselves in danger. Write a scene where they risk everything to help another person.
Think of a character who has a personal flaw or weakness that they are determined to overcome. Write a scene where they struggle with this flaw, but ultimately use their determination to make progress.
Write a character who has failed many times but refuses to give up. Show how their determination helps them keep going despite setbacks.
Create a character who is determined to prove themselves to someone else. Write a scene where they work hard to impress this person, even in the face of skepticism or doubt.
Think of a character who has been dealt a difficult hand in life but refuses to let it define them. Write a scene where they use their determination to overcome adversity and create a better future for themselves.
Write a character who is determined to make a positive change in the world, even if it seems impossible. Show how their determination inspires others to join them in their cause.
Write a character who is determined to achieve success in a competitive field. Show how their determination helps them stand out from the crowd and ultimately reach their goals.