sasha: *wins two challenges with shea because they were group challenges*
other people: OMG SHE RELYING ON SHEA SHE CAN’T DO ANYTHING ON HER OWN
also sasha: *excelling on her own at placing high in the first episode, placing high in snatch game, placing high in the roast, showing conceptual versatile runway looks every week, and making every other challenge work for her throughout the season*
sun in 10th: determined to succeed, hard working, respected by others, born to lead, strong at heart, desires to influence others positively, conscious about public image, has difficulty following orders
moon in 10th: wants to be admired, unconsciously needs to fulfil ambitions, urge to contribute to social issues, nurturing, can be moody, intuitive, has a need for approval, sensitive to criticism, sympathetic to the less fortunate
jupiter in 10th: generous, mature approach towards career, highly respected by others, knowledgable, has inner strength, works hard to gain success, persevering, reliable, may find it hard to have fun/relax, tends to dismiss feedback, can be overbearing
mercury in 10th: sincere approach towards career, works best when given freedom, effective communicator, may have trouble working with others, authoritative, strong in beliefs, analytical, rational
venus in 10th: devoted, creative attributes, charming, can be materialistic, bound to be successful, has good team spirit, good people skills, wants to be honoured, values social image, confident, more logical than emotional
mars in 10th: has good management skills, political mind, serious, concerned about career and public image, driven by success, has trouble working in a group, meticulous, ambitious, may come off as cold, sarcastic humour, competitive
saturn in 10th: dominating personality, strong character, patient, feels pressured to excel, has high standards, wise, has humility, challenged by authority, fears failing, may be too controlling
uranus in 10th: has an independent nature, wants to create new things, hard working, gets bored easily, stubborn, conservative, restless in a career, needs some free will to succeed, strong willed
neptune in 10th: wants to inspire others, always searching for something more, idealistic, finds it hard to commit, sensitive to rejection, can feel lost, likes helping others, can lose confidence if efforts are not recognised
pluto in 10th: can come off as controlling, ambitious, strong, determined, perfectionist, fears the unknown, traditional, dislikes change, loves to be challenged, driven to succeed, can become consumed by career, wary of authority, secretive
aries in 10th: self image rooted in public roles, assertive, loses temper easily, authoritative, determined to be the best, can be impulsive, comfortable in the spotlight, ambitious, hard working
taurus in 10th: wants to be known for status or wealth, charming, may have trouble following orders, may be seen as materialistic, wants to reach physical/ sensual satisfaction
gemini in 10th: gets bored easily, works best in a fast paced/challenging career, ‘jack of all trades’, may be seen as childish, likes talking, may struggle to show true self to the public
cancer in 10th: cares deeply about success, wants to be looked up to, ambitious, helpful, can be too emotional, sensitive to the feelings of others, easily adapts to different situations, good planner, naturally creative, trustworthy
leo in 10th: wants to be praised, needs to shine in a career, self oriented; can be too dominating in a group, confident around others, leadership qualities, feels destined for greatness, generous, highly organised, may take criticism too personally
virgo in 10th: needs mental stimulation in a career, wants to express ideas freely, likes to write, talented at analysing, naturally critical, take commitments seriously, can see the big picture, can be blunt
libra in 10th: works best with a partner, charming, graceful, indecisive, world is centred around relationships, harmonious, conscious of social position, can make good connections, excels in a team, may become withdrawn
scorpio in 10th: dedicated to career, focused, comes across as powerful in public, can be aggressive, self motivated, excels when inspired, sympathetic, experience intense transitions; change may be hard
sagittarius in 10th: optimistic towards goals, hard working, often travels abroad for a career, may waste potential looking for a purpose, overthinks a lot, intuitive, likes to plan everything, conservative, can appear stubborn, needs independence in a career
capricorn in 10th: cautious, comes across as determined in public, takes career seriously, success comes through hard work, wants to care for others, patient, careful, not afraid of competition, needs a stable career
aquarius in 10th: innovative in a career, thinks long term, group oriented, eccentric, has the ability to find enlightenment, normally an outcast, loves learning, positive, must have freedom in a career
pisces in 10th: indecisive towards career, works well when helping others, artistic, sensitive to psychic energies, lacks practicality, introverted, struggles with change, susceptible to outside influences
↳The smartest women in the country… I didn’t realize that by demanding excellence, I would be challenging… what did it say? The roles you were born to fulfill. The roles you were born to fulfill? It’s my mistake.
teenage boy saves the entire world, defeats the most evil wizard of the decade,
is able to resist an imperius curse cast by said wizard, constantly has to solve mysteries and battle wizards way more qualified than him, has a perceptive mind and uses that to overcome challenges he faces, manages to get good grades under such stress, excels in practical magic, thrives in potions given unbiased instructions, gets complimented by teachers and the sorting hat for his mind, teaches other students at the age of fifteen, yetstillgets called stupid and mediocre. what a world.
I work 80 hours a week. I don’t have time for my own problems, let alone time to bash my head against the wall enough to come to a place where I can conceivably come to a place to start to begin to arrive at a point of acceptance of such a heinous lie…
The US flag stands for a door that is open to any who will leave their inadequate country and become a part of our great nation; those who work hard, challenge their children, accept responsibility, and pursue excellence - the US Flag is NOT a doormat to walk across on the road to social justice.
The United States was not built on the back of slavery. Only 1% of white Americans in 1861 (the year with the most slave ownership) owned a slave. The United States tore itself to pieces on the road to the Emancipation of Slaves. That was us paying you back - we owe you nothing else. The new America was rebuilt by free men and women. Inch by inch…block by block, stone by stone.
Democrats are not your friend…they still own you - you are just too emotionally underdeveloped to stand and walk away from them.
Israel is not the occupier in the Middle East. It has always been theirs. They only ever retaliate, never initiate. They accept all who come peacefully; men, women, straight, gay. They accept everyone. And yet you - the justice league of America scream and yell in defense of your blessed Islam.
Islam is not the religion of peace. They are homicidal…to the degree that Vlad Cepesh Dracul, had to impale 30,000 marauding Turks just to get their attention. They don’t love you. Islam is not your redeemer. Get over it.
If the traditional family is so bad, why is it that the further we run from it the worse off we get? If discipline is so awful, if accountability is such mentally torturous, why is it that the less of these horrendous principles we have the more we fall apart?
You can’t answer for any of these because you lack the integrity to force yourself to publicly recant your mistake. You are far too pompous and raucous and belligerent to ever look in a graffiti-free mirror at yourself; you lack the fortitude, your spine is gelatinous in construction and you will never be able to be such a man or woman (because there is no other gender) that you could take upon yourself the responsibility of your own actions.
I am tired. I work…hard. I stick it out because those little ones at home are my financial responsibility…not yours. “I have a bad back”. Of course you do. Its proven that when you sit on your butt too long it can make your back go out. I have a bad back too…the difference - I EARNED MY BAD BACK. It is my trophy for succeeding as a parent, as a patriot, as an American.
I am tired - I get over it every day as I get out of bed to do it all over again. It is time for you get over it too…should you ever find the testicular fortitude to do so. You may have to get rid of your skinny jeans though….you’re gonna need more room for that new manhood.
You absolutely hated the idea of getting a tutor when you didn’t even need it. Your grades were excelling in the challenging environment, yet the teacher decided to act presumptively and assign you with a tutor, who happened to be the best in the class.
It was Peter Parker, someone you’d probably not notice if he wasn’t your tutor. After meeting him, he was almost inserted into your life and you welcomed him. If it weren’t for the stupid tutoring sessions your teacher made you do. You scowled at the book the two of you were looking at. “This is pointless. I have an A in all my classes!”
Peter smiled crookedly at you before looking back down to his book and mentioning in a casual tone, “You transferred to a completely different school in sophomore year. Not to mention, this school is for geniuses. Most transfers need a tutor.”
Glancing up at him, you added stubbornly, “I’m not a normal transfer.”
“Can’t say you are, Y/N Y/L/N,” Peter responded with a small smirk as he continued to talk about Computer Science. So, you weren’t a fan of people knowing who exactly you were. It’s not like any of your records said anything about your last name being Stark, and that means you weren’t technically lying about your father.
Withholding information isn’t lying. You just wanted a normal high school experience and, although you mended things with your dad, you didn’t want people to think that he got you into the school so you couldn’t handle it. Yes, he got you into the school, but that was just a stepping stone. You were trying your hardest to absorb all the information being thrown at you.
Not to mention the tensions at the Avengers Compound. Due to Sokovia and recent government problems, the team was rather split over the issue. You didn’t want the government to control the Avengers, but you knew the civilian deaths were a serious issue with Tony. Besides, he was set on keeping you out of the conflict itself. It still hurt to see the team you loved so much falling apart.
Yet another thing to worry about is Peter. He’s been very tired lately and he’s been trying to blame it on the schoolwork and late nights. What Peter doesn’t know is that sometimes, if his sleeve is rolled up slightly, you’ll see occasional bruises and cuts. You immediately thought that he got himself involved in something that he shouldn’t be involved in, but you dismissed the idea.
It’s Peter after all. He couldn’t have gotten in that much trouble. He was just a sweet, albeit slightly dorky, guy. There are so many things he could do, but Peter knows when to avoid a bad situation. That’s how he managed to stop the major bullying from Flash.
Little did you know, Peter was looking at you and noticing how tired you seemed. After the tutoring session, he asked if you were okay. Since you couldn’t tell him that the stress of civil war was keeping you up, you simply smiled and stated, “I’ve just been worried lately. You know, because of all the crime lately.”
Concern flashed through his eyes and Peter wondered, “Has something happened?”
“No, not at all. I’m just a bit nervous.”
You began to walk away, but Peter stopped you and said, “I could walk you home.” He wanted to stop by as Spiderman and keep an eye out, but he had no idea where you lived.
Raising your eyebrow, you simply declined, “No thanks. I’m waiting for my dad anyway. Besides, I don’t want you staying up late tonight because of homework.” To hide your obvious lie, you said the last part as if you were a worried mother.
“Thanks, Mom,” he teased before continuing, “Okay. See you tomorrow, Y/N!” You were surprised that he just dropped the conversation, but shrugged it off and continued to walk.
Peter almost ran home so he could get his schoolwork done before his night roaming began. His mind went over the conversation with you. He was still concerned over you losing sleep and decided to see if he could find your address off the school directory.
It hadn’t been updated yet, so you weren’t there. Peter hesitated until he finally just typed your name into a search bar. Yes, he knew that this was slightly creepy, but it was good intentions, right?
Not much came up for your name. Miscellaneous things appeared like some awards you won at your old school. It wasn’t until he stumbled on an article that had recanted its statement. There were some photos of you, leaving what was Stark Towers. No one had any idea why you were there. Tony Stark had replied to the author that your mother was a friend of his and he had given you a summer internship.
You knew Tony Stark? Peter’s eyes widened and his mind raced. Why hadn’t you told him? You knew how much Peter looked up to Tony Stark. Maybe he could casually bring it up in conversation. He groaned slightly to himself, realizing he’d have to explain how he had stumbled upon an obscure article about you. That would seem creepy probably.
Groaning again, he closed the browser and shut his laptop. Of course he found out something about you, but Peter had no idea where you lived. All dreams of protecting you dissipated and reality came crashing back. You’d never like him. You’re just hanging out with him because Peter’s your tutor and one of the only people you knew at Midtown.
When the battle between Avengers was inevitable, you almost shut down in on yourself. Peter was extremely worried for you. Was the transition to Midtown hard? Your grades weren’t suffering, so it couldn’t be that bad. You told him a bit about your old school, and never in a nostalgic way.
Maybe it was personal? It shocked Peter at how little he knew about you. Sure, you met Peter that year, but it’s been a while since you first met him. He would have thought to at least know what your family was like. Some little comment about your mother or father.
You said nothing about your family. Maybe it was a family issue. He stared at you as you did your work. Peter was supposed to be tutoring, but he was too distracted by the dark circles under your eyes, signifying a consistent poor sleep schedule, something Peter knew all too well. He would look over at you from time to time, wishing he could do something.
The Avengers Compound seemed practically empty without everyone there. Wanda was shipped off to another compound, where Steve and Clint broke her out. Natasha stayed, but seemed distant as well. You silently did your homework on the counter in the kitchen when Tony walked in. He paused at your appearance. The Accords and everything had distracted him from your wellbeing. You obviously looked stressed over the upcoming battle.
He cleared his throat. You looked over your shoulder quickly, relaxing when you saw Tony. Walking over and placing a hand on your shoulder, Tony said in a reassuring tone, “You’re keeping up with the work perfectly. Once you’re done your homework, I want you in bed asleep.”
Simply nodding, you noticed his car keys in his hands and asked, “Are you going somewhere, Dad?”
“Recruiting the new Spider-kid,” he answered nonchalantly, “I’ll just pick up some dinner afterwards so don’t wait up.” Tony left you all by your lonesome, so you turned on some music while you did your homework.
About thirty minutes later, you felt your phone buzz on the table. Seeing it was Peter, you looked at it, not expecting much. It read, “Hey, I’m going to need you to collect my homework for the next few days.”
“Why?” you responded.
“I got an internship for Tony Stark!” You looked at the text in shock when another text came through from Peter. “By the way, anything you want to tell me?”
A strangled noise escaped from your mouth as the realization set in. FRIDAY immediately powered up and the voice resonated from the ceiling, “Miss Stark, I am unaware of that sound. Is everything okay?”
“He’s Spiderman!” you yelled at the AI.
“I am confused,” FRIDAY continued, “Is there a spider in the room?”
You startle awake. Your legs cut through the water to touch down on the sand, and you gasp for breath. “It’s okay, Tundra, it’s okay, Y/N you’re safe!”
You focus in on the sound of the person’s voice, and then on the feeling of the arms wrapped around you. Nightwing is nearly invisible in the dark, between his dark hair, and black suit, the only thing really visible is the blue emblem on his chest. Kid Flash is a bit easier to see, despite the fact that he’s in stealth mode.
You take deep breaths, and focus on the hand that’s rubbing soothing circles into your back. Your voice is hoarse, “What happened?”
“Your soulmarks came early. You’re okay, I promise.” Wally’s voice is sincere, and gentle. You focus on taking deep breaths, on calming your heart rate. After a minute you slump forward a bit. Dick and Wally keep you standing, a moment later they’re supporting you as you walk to shore.
You’re not too far out, your feet can still touch the sand, but you’re drenched. And while the cold doesn’t bother you, you know they both have to be freezing. Not that they seem to notice. The three of you collapse onto the sand. You’re more than a bit surprised when they curl around you, sharing their body heat. In hindsight, that should have been your first clue. Instead you accept it, and choose to say nothing.
Minutes later the rest of the team comes running out, and you’re hauled to your feet. You’re still not steady enough to walk on your own, and Nightwing and Kid Flash escort you on to the bio ship.
You’re not sure what exactly is going on. You’re very disoriented, and there’s still pain shooting through your legs. All you know, is that you don’t want Wally or Dick to leave your side. You also know, you can’t ask them to stay. They’re leaders of the team. Nightwing had planned this entire operation. So you make your peace with the fact that you’ll be alone again soon.
There are knowing looks as you walk onto the bio ship. And when the three of you sit down on a bench no one says anything. No one asks Nightwing to take the helm or asks Kid Flash for a report of what happened.
They all just seem to know. You wonder briefly if Miss Martian had set up a psychic link. But you know the external signs, and none of them are visible. No this is something else, this is something that has been discussed. And from the amount of calm not just by the team, but by the league, you’d be willing to bet that the discussion had been extensive.
That’s when you realize Nightwing’s arm is wrapped around your shoulder, and Kid Flash’s hand is resting on your thigh, his thumb stroking back and forth. The realization hits you like a Mac truck. Your eyes focus in on your teammates, and when none of them meet your eyes, you know.
Pulling yourself away abruptly you can feel eyes on you. You make your way to the back of the ship, to the small changing area. Shutting the door, you lock it, and take deep breaths. It takes work to shimmy out of the wet mission pants. When they’re down and off you steel yourself to look.
It takes several tries. The first three times you try to look, you close your eyes. On the fourth try you force your eyes to stay open. You look at your right thigh first. For the first time in your life your eyes bypass the images there in favor of the name previously hidden. Dick’s name is written in a delicate scrawl, curvy. It reminds you of the way he flies through the air.
Then you turn to the left. Wally’s name is bolder, almost brazen. It dominates the mark instead of flowing into it.
Taking a deep breath you sink to the floor. You trace their names with the tips of your fingers. One then the other, on repeat until a knock comes on the door. You don’t say anything as it clicks open. They enter together, sliding through the door quietly. Looking up you meet their eyes, they’ve changed out of their uniforms and into civilian clothes.
Dick’s voice is soft, “We brought you some dry clothes.” You nod, not trusting your voice. They turn around as you change. The sweatpants and tee-shirt are comfortable. They’re soft and surprisingly warm. You snuggle into the material, before sitting back down. They sit down on either side of you.
Your voice is soft when you say, “You’ve known for a while.”
Wally gives you a sheepish smile, “Yeah, about three years.”
Dick nods, “A little over a year.”
“The rest of the team?” You ask.
“Only Artemis. She was there when my marks appeared. She didn’t tell anyone else.”
“Batman knows.” Dick’s voice is gentle, “We weren’t sure when your marks would appear, and we needed to make sure Wally and I were covered in case it happened while we were on the mission.”
“Does it always hurt like that?”
Wally shrugs, “It tends to vary from person to person. The fact that we’re meta’s could possibly affect it as well.”
You raise an eyebrow in question, “Did it hurt you that bad?”
He stares at you for a minute, “I’d rather not talk about.”
You turn to Dick for an answer and he smiles, “He still hasn’t told me, and he’s sworn Artemis to secrecy.”
“What about you?”
The smile doesn’t leave his face, I was facing the Riddler when mine appeared, I screamed so loud Batman thought he’d shot me, or poisoned me or something.” You smile, and another silence takes over.
After a few minutes Dick says, “We know this is a lot to process.” you nod, and he continues, “We want to give you the appropriate amount of space to deal with it, but we also think it’s important to be close to you.”
“Dick and I have known each other for years. Best friends since childhood, and we’ve been together for a year. The situation with you is different…” Wally adds.
You wince at the reminder. Wally and Dick were close, you didn’t need that reminder. You were essentially butting into an already established relationship. It was a more than awkward situation.
You catch the look Dick throws Wally before saying, “It’s not a bad different. It’s a good different. It’s that getting to know someone, and fall in love with them different.”
Your cheeks heat up at the word love, and you refuse to make eye contact. You listen to Wally chuckle, “She blushes, this is meant to be.” Your cheeks heat up even more.
“We’ve had time to think about how we could approach it. Time you haven’t had. So we figured, we’d give you some options, and some time to figure out what you want.”
You tuck a strand of hair behind your ear, “Isn’t that why you didn’t tell me? So I would have time for stuff?”
Dick’s smile is contagious, “Yes, we wanted to give you that time to explore.”
You give a small smile, “Thank you for that.”
Wally’s smile is soft as he says, “We’ve had time to process what this means, and we want to give you that same chance. So, we’ve come up with a few options. The first is meeting two or three times a week, for dates. Time to get to know each other.”
“Option two, is a bit more hardcore,” Dick starts, “This is the option we prefer, but we also understand it’s intimidating.”
Before he can finish, Wally buts in, “We’d like you to move in with us.”
You can feel your eyes go wide, but before you can panic, Dick rushes in, “You’d have your own room, your own space. We just thought it would be an easier way to get to know each other and our habits, without prying eyes.”
You open and close your mouth several times, before shutting it; “Can I think about it?” You finally ask.
“Of course.” Dick and Wally say together.
With a nod, you stand up and leave the ship. Dick and Wally follow you out. The entire team is waiting just outside the ship, and all eyes turn to you as you step out. You can see the words of congratulations on their tongues. You wince when the shouts come out. Normally you’d be prepared with a sarcastic comment, you were comfortable enough with this group to let those roll out. However, right now you were too exhausted to deal with it.
All you wanted to do was curl into a ball and go to sleep. You feel two hands press against the small of your back. Surprisingly you don’t stiffen, almost automatically you lean into the touch. You allow them to guide you through the crowd, accepting the congratulations until you’re free.
You slump a bit when you reach the locker room. You change back into your civilian clothes, and grab your bag. Dick and Wally are waiting on you. They escort you to the zeta tube, and you feel their eyes on you until you go through. You exit out of the same dumpster and begin the trek home.
You slip into the house unnoticed. It’s almost six a.m. and you’re simply grateful it’s a Saturday. You slip up to bed and pass out. You wake up at a little past three in the afternoon. You slip downstairs and into the kitchen. You stay quiet, despite the fact that you know, no one is home.
Then again, no one was ever home. Your parents were a power couple. They both ran multi million dollar corporations, and traveled a lot. They were soulmates, they fed off of each other, and set the other up for success. A win for one was a win for the other. They were fully consumed with each other, and their careers, and it had been that way for as long as you could remember.
Your parents weren’t bad people. They were focused, determined, and distant people. They had ensured you had anything you wanted, that you were enrolled in the best schools, and in productive after school activities. But they had very rarely been around.
You’d been raised by your father’s parents. Your grandparents. They’d provided you with all the love and care you could ask for. It had been with them that your powers had been discovered, and it had been them who had sought out the league for help. You’d been happy with them, right until they were no longer an option.
You had always enjoyed school. You enjoyed the challenged, you enjoyed the learning. You had excelled in all of your classes from an early age. You’d thought nothing of it until you’d been called into the principal’s office for a parent teacher meeting. You’d been shocked to find your parents there instead of your grandparents.
That was when things had begun to go down hill. Overnight your parents seemed to take over your life. You were forcibly removed from your grandparent’s home, and moved into your parent’s apartment in the city. You were enrolled in a new, higher level school where your parents expectations were made clear.
You met them in some insane bid for their love. You hadn’t realized you’d wanted it until they had dangled it in front of you. Slowly they began adding in other things; etiquette lessons, dance lessons, internships at their companies, galas, and forced meetings with other children like you.
You didn’t realize how stressed you were until you let loose an ice storm on the whole of the city. That’s when the Team intervened. Artemis found you at school and snuck you out. You’d been a frenzied mess under too much pressure. With the help of Black Canary they focused your stress and your power. That was when you realized just how far you’d drifted.
You hadn’t spoken to your grandparents in months. You hadn’t answered any of the Team’s calls, and you hadn’t slept in days because of the stress. You’d very quickly realized you were in over your head. The realization that your parents were incapable of loving anyone but each other came days later.
You’d withdrawn from them after that. Thrice weekly calls to your grandparents became your new norm, you kept your grades up to keep your parents from focusing on you, but you spent all your free time with the Team.
Making your way into the kitchen you stop short at the sight before you. Your parents are sitting in the kitchen, food on the stove, with their laptops nowhere in sight. The smiles you receive immediately put you on edge. Mentally, you prepare for war.
It was a well known fact among the Avengers that Tony, when sleep deprived, gets…interesting. He doesn’t necessarily make bad decisions, they’re just weird. (Like adding “Achy Breaky Heart” by famed Billy Ray Cyrus to his list of entry music for the suits. Or drinking straight lemon juice.) But when he’s sleepy, his reflexes tend to be off. By a lot. The team has fun with it sometimes.
After a long day in the lab, Tony was tired as hell. He created a new type of armor since Steve The Dumbass did some Death Defying Stunt and so now Tony has a new challenge. (Excellent.) Honestly, Pepper recommended him some excellent trashy romance novels, and so he will read them on his tablet.
They see Tony shuffle into the common room, yawning as he swipes his tablet and blearily looks around the room. “Hi, Natasha.” She smiles and waves back. “Hi Clint.” He salutes him lazily, still into the latest episode of this stupid show about dogs being cops. He doesn’t see Bucky or Steve yet.
“Watch this, it’ll be hilarious,” Bucky says with a smirk. Steve nods. He’s used to Bucky pulling small stunts, especially now that they know Tony has delayed reactions.
“Hi Steve,” Tony says with a dopey smile on his face. Steve waves back, trying not to give Bucky away. (It’s not like it’s hard; when Tony’s sleepy, someone could get away with murder. Natasha almost did, before Rhodey stopped her and possibly a national crisis from happening.)
Tony looks around in confusion.
“BOO!” Bucky yells.
“OH MY GOD,” Tony screams, hauling his whole body to punch Bucky in the face. The soldier flies backward, crashing into a chair and breaking it. “BUCKY WHAT THE HELL?” Tony screams. “I COULD’VE BROKEN MY TABLET!”
“Oh my god, my nose is bleeding, and your first concern is your tablet?!” Bucky asks, clutching his nose. “Oh god, I think you gave me a shiner…”
Steve, meanwhile, is on the floor crying. This is the first time in about a month that he’s truly just broken down and laughed until he cried. Bucky looks at him.
“I’m gonna milk this,” Steve admits, breathing labored. “Oh my god.”
Knowing your characters really well before you start writing is super helpful if you want the writing to go fast, because you’ll always know exactly what they would do. My best example of this is two characters from a book I was working on a couple of months ago that I really flushed out before I started writing, and then the funniest thing happened when I finally placed them both in the story and started to gauge their reactions. I realized - completely on the spot and with no fore planning to this fact - that these two characters despised each other. This fact is now an integral part of both of their character development, but if I hadn’t taken the time to flush them out before I put them in a room together, I might not have realized this about them. (Again, it wasn’t an original part of the plot. It just clicked that these two people hated each other because I knew so well how they would react to each other’s attitudes.) Now I suppose the question would be how to go about “getting to know your characters”. And, believe me, there are plenty of ways to do this beyond my advice, but I’m just going to give you my personal favorite method for developing a complex character.
The big question you want ask yourself is: What is my character like when they’re in their element, and what are they like when they’re outside their element?
Now, this is a loaded question, and I find it best to work your way up to it instead of answering it head on. The first thing this question presents is, well, what is your character’s “element”? You could say this is the thing they’re good at, but it could be a variety of other things. The people they’re most comfortable with, the setting they’re most comfortable in, ect. When figuring out what your character’s “element” is, you’re going to want to consider a few things:
In what way is your character smart? No character should just be the “dumb” one, and no character should just be the “smart” one. Every character should have a way in which they are intelligent, even if it’s not something generally perceived as intelligence. For example, your character can be physically coordinated and spatially aware, or they might be really good at understanding emotions and can always tell what’s wrong with people. If you want your character to be “traditionally” intelligent and have a wide spread of knowledge, it’s still good to pick a specific topic they focus on, or specific style that they think/understand things in. For example, they’re knowledge might be very logic based: they remember the hard facts and are good arriving at the most likely conclusion but have trouble thinking creatively.
Knowing what your character is most intelligent about should go hand in hand with their skills and/or hobbies. Do they like art? reading? sports? building things? solving mysteries? It will probably be pretty obvious, but don’t be afraid to consider something with a bit more of a stretch. For example, an emotionally intelligent character could be a social butterfly who has fun at parties, but an artsy kid who loves to read and has a small group of close friends can make sense too. Play around with your character’s interests.
What makes your character uncomfortable? Now that you know what they do like it’s important to consider what they don’t like. This will be the boundary between being in their element and outside of it. After all, just because an athletic character isn’t playing their sport right at that very second might not mean that they’re outside their element. Perhaps they get uncomfortable when they’re without their friends. Perhaps they don’t get along with one of their parents, or don’t like to talk about where they’re going to college. These are things that will put them outside their element.
Then comes part two of unpacking our big question: how do they act on either side of the line? This will require you to think about how they react to different scenarios, which is what makes this integral to actually writing the character. If you already know how they will react, writing it will come naturally. Now, how do you start to figure that out?
A good place to start is understanding where your character comes from. Yes, it’s time for that “tragic backstory”. You don’t have to know everything about your character’s backstory, and you don’t even have to plan on including it in what you actually write, but I find that it’s always easier to gauge a character’s reaction to things when I at least have an idea of where they came from. For example, a character with military training will react very differently to a dangerous situations than your average civilian.
From there, we need to wrap back around to that question about “in what way is your character smart?” because this is very important to understanding how your character thinks (which is essentially what we’re trying to do here). Consider what school subjects (even if they character doesn’t go to school) your character would find most challenging and which they would excell at. What kind of learner are they? Visual? Auditory? Are they good at memorizing things? How about recognizing patterns? Using technology? And, always a great question, how’s they’re sense of humor? Knowing how your character thinks will be another huge factor is gauging reactions.
At this point, the answers to all the questions should start to blur together and if you’ve really thought about it, you should be able to describe how your character thinks, and how this plays into their likes and dislikes.
Now you can tackle it.
So ask yourself, what is my character like when they’re in their element, and what are they like when they’re outside their element?