And now for this week's Character Trait Entry...
(exclamation points added for emphasis)
Definition: being easily roused into a state of excitement
Causes: curiosity, immaturity, an optimistic outlook, boredom, a need for action or adventure, a desire to perform or prove oneself to others, medication or diet, mental imbalance, a highly intelligence person who is consistently under-stimulated
Characters in Literature: Gilderoy Lockhart (HP and the Chamber of Secrets), Fflewddur Fflam (The Black Cauldron), Tigger
Positives: Excitable characters are passionate. Their zeal is infectious and their exuberance can be the catalyst to spurring fence-sitters into action. Excitables make excellent support characters because they're willing to go along with whatever crazy idea is suggested. Their willingness to do just about anything makes them open-minded and impulsive. If you need someone to do something incredibly brave, dangerous, or stupid, an excitable character will get the job done.
Negatives: Excitables may be passionate, but they rarely think things through. Their lack of common sense and impulsivity often leads to trouble for them and their friends. Because Excitables are delighted by just about everything, they're often viewed by others as childish and simple and aren't taken seriously. They tend to react to opportunities rather than create them for themselves, so it's difficult for an Excitable to be an effective hero.
Common Portrayals: children, sidekicks, crackpots
Clichés to Avoid: the yes man who jumps eagerly into any adventure the hero suggests; the Excitable motivated by curiosity and the thirst for knowledge; the lap-dog-type sidekick who fawns after the hero with no discernible thoughts of his own
Twists on the Traditional Excitable:
- Because these characters are often portrayed as mindless followers, give your Excitable a brain. Maybe he can see the foolishness or randomness of his actions, but he is compelled by some other reason to always leap without looking
- An Excitable hero who doesn't think for himself would make for an interesting journey and a story rife with trouble
- An Excitable mentor would also create some serious conflict for the hero
Conflicting Characteristics to Make your Excitable Unique or More Interesting: timid, rational, cruel, serious, responsible, obedient
And speaking of being excited, I'm totally chuffed to be interviewed today at Miriam Forster's blog, which might have one of the coolest blog names ever. I'd tell you what it is, but what's the fun in that??