Depressing Characters

by Rosie

Hi, my question is how do I make my character sound more upbeat and less depressing? I want my story to be aimed at about nine to fourteen year olds and I don't want the main character to sound depressing, but I'm not sure how. Think a little less Divergent and a little more Percy Jackson.

Answer: I think you have to look more closely at (or perhaps explain better) why your character comes across as depressing.

First, is the character depressed or do you feel the character makes the reader depressed? Or is the character just a cynic or a realist, or someone coping with a bad situation in a realistic way?

At any rate, consider how you want your character to respond to her situation and problems. Will she cling to certain values in a bad situation? Will she strive to achieve her goals, even if it means stepping outside her comfort zone? Does she judge others and herself too harshly, or should you let her go easier on people? How might she cope with her feelings in a way other than becoming defeated by them?

Of course, you want your character to seem authentic to the reader. But humans have many different ways of coping with problems. A little shift in your character's attitude might accomplish your aims.

Best of luck.

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