Definition: free from agitation or disturbance; composed; level-headed
Causes: an easy-going nature, a boring personality, lack of imagination, practicality (why get upset if I can't do anything about it?), an upbringing that focused on composure and emotional temperance, a desire for peace
Characters in Literature: Legolas, Spock, Nick Andros (The Stand), Yoda
Positives: Calm people don't rock the boat. They're dependable, do what they say they'll do, and can be relied upon to react predictably in any situation. As such, they act as stabilizers in a high drama cast of characters. They don't allow emotion to sway them and can be depended upon to hold fast to the basics and make solid decisions. Calm characters can be the glue that keeps a group from falling apart.
Negatives: Because of their consistency and reliability, calm characters are usually pretty boring. Because they always seem to do the right thing, they can be seen as cardboard, unrealistic, and forgettable.
Common Portrayals: parents and grandparents, religious figures, mentors, immortals
Cliches to Avoid: the wise mentor who shows no emotion, no matter how desperate the scenario; the martyr who calmly and serenely faces his own death; the calm character who never makes a mistake
Twists on the Traditional Calm Character:
- Emotionally, your character might be even-keeled, but he can be weak in other areas. Give him an achilles heel or crazy quirk to make him more interesting.
- Because calm character are somewhat boring, they aren't usually cast as heroes. But what if calmness is a fault that has to be overcome? What if the calm demeanor is a deep-seated survival technique that must be broken down so the hero can experience real emotion?
Conflicting Characteristics to Make your Calm Character Unique or More Interesting: adventurous, loyal, glamorous, rude, messy, gluttonous, pessimistic