Lessons from fictional characters

What Writing Fictional Characters Taught Me About Real People

We might prefer them, but fictional characters aren't all there is to life.


There's nothing quite like a good book, and in the very best, you can't help but be drawn to the characters. Maybe it's their realistic traits, or maybe it's even the parts of them that aren't so real. But whatever your favorite part, there's no denying – a lot went into creating those characters. When I first began to write fictional stories for my cousins, I found that out over time. The more I wrote – as with any skill – the more I was able to develop my characters. And by now I would venture to say that they've helped develop me, too. They've taught me so much about real people as well, and I won't ever be able to forget some of these lessons.

1. People are complicated.


This one probably goes without saying, but people have a lot of things that go into making them who they are. Internal and external conflicts, morals and ethics, and both nature and nurture all go into people's choices and actions. And in the end, even life-altering decisions can be made in a moment of weakness that doesn't truly reflect the best of someone; there's so much more than we can simply see in people!

2. The ripple effect is real.


One person's actions will always have an affect on others. And while we often acknowledge this, maybe we fail to see just how far that actually goes. In designing fictional stories, you can hinge an entire plot on one small action, even an accident. In real life, those things happen, too. Things we forget about might seriously impact others, and it just keeps on going!

3. People can't just disappear from the plot.


If you've every tried to write a story, then remove a character or merge two of them, you know it's very difficult. When you wind someone into your plot, you can't just delete their name from every page and expect the story to go as normal; there's a lot of fixing to be done, and subplots can be lost or they have to gain a new protagonist to replace the old one. If it's so complicated in print, imagine how much more so in person? Even if you lose a friend or stop talking to someone, they don't just go away, and you certainly can't remove them from memories past!

4. Protagonists are the antagonists in someone else's world...


Yes, even the "good guys" can foil the plans of others. It might be to advance their own world, so we don't pay much attention to it, but they do have negative influences on some people. We all do, whether we intend it or not. It's impossible to please everyone, so we'll always be the "bad guy" to someone.

5. ...and antagonists are the good guys in their own.


Whatever it is that an antagonist might stand for, those who support them believe in the cause. And that means those who oppose it are the antagonist in their world. They only fight for something they believe to be true, and no matter how misguided, might that be at least partially understandable?

6. Not all endings are the very end.


Of course. The last chapter, last page, last word is never where it ends. Perhaps in fiction it can go no further than the reader's imagination, but in real life, it continues just as strongly as what might be written. There always has to be a place to wrap up the plot (whether with a nice tidy bow, or in a complete mess depends on the author) but in real life, things keep changing. They don't remain in that perfect moment, they keep progressing forward. Sometimes to better endings, sometimes to new beginnings, and sometimes to tragedy. But they do continue.

7. Empathy is key!


Even if you absolutely hate a certain character, sometimes you can at least understand them or their motives; that's something that takes empathy. Sometimes it's easy enough to reason, "They're only like that because the author made them that way," and while real people have a lot more going into them than one simple author, empathy can always be applied anyway. It helps us understand that there's more to people that we know, and they don't always have control over the experiences that shaped them.

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14 Stages Of Buying Jonas Brothers Concert Tickets As A 20-Something In 2019

"Alexa, play "Burnin' Up" by the Jonas Brothers."


In case you missed it, the Jonas Brothers are back together and, let me tell you, they're giving us some major jams. For those of us who were there when it all began back in 2007 with their first album, It's About Time, this has been one of the most important events of the year. But nothing, and I mean nothing can rival the excitement every twenty-something felt as the Jonas Brothers announced their Happiness Begins tour. I, for one, put my name in for ticket presale, have been following every single social media site related to the tour/group, and, of course, listening to the Jonas Brothers on repeat. And if you did manage to snag tickets, then you know that this is how your brain has been ever since they announced the tour.

1. Finding out that they're going on tour

2. Hopefully entering your name into the lottery to get presale tickets

3. Finding out that you actually get to buy presale tickets

4. Impatiently waiting for your presale tickets by listening to their songs on repeat

5. And remembering how obsessed you used to be (definitely still are) with them

6. Trying to coordinate the squad to go to the concert with you

7. Waiting in the Ticketmaster waiting room...

8. ...And feeling super frantic/frustrated because there are about 2000 people in line in front of you

9. Actually getting into the site to buy the tickets

10. Frantically trying to find seats you can actually pay for because, let's be real, you're twenty-something and poor

11. Managing to actually get the seats you want

12. Joyfully letting your squad know that you've done it

13. Crying a little because all of the dreams you've had since 2007 are coming true

14. Listening to every single Jonas Brothers song on repeat (again)

If you, like me, have finally fulfilled one of your dreams since childhood, then congrats, my friend! We've made it! Honestly, of all the things I've done in my adult life, this might be the one that child me is the most proud of.

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15 Thing Only Early 2000's Kids Will Understand

"Get connected for free, with education connection"


This is it early 2000's babies, a compilation finally made for you. This list is loaded with things that will make you swoon with nostalgia.

1. Not being accepted by the late 90's kids.


Contrary to what one may think, late 90's and early 00's kids had the same childhood, but whenever a 00's kid says they remember something on an "only 90's kids will understand" post they are ridiculed.

2. Fortune tellers.


Every day in elementary school you would whip one of these bad boys out of your desk, and proceed to tell all of your classmates what lifestyle they were going to live and who they were going to marry.



You could never read this book past 8 o'clock at night out of fear that your beloved pet rabbit would come after you.

4. Silly bands.


You vividly remember begging your parents to buy you $10 worth of cheap rubber bands that vaguely resembles the shape of an everyday object.

5. Parachutes.


The joy and excitement that washed over you whenever you saw the gym teacher pull out the huge rainbow parachute. The adrenaline that pumped through your veins whenever your gym teacher tells you the pull the chute under you and sit to make a huge "fort".

6. Putty Erasers


You always bought one whenever there was a school store.

7. iPod shuffle.


The smallest, least technological iPpd apple has made, made you the coolest kid at the bus stop.

8. "Education Connection"

You knew EVERY wood to the "Education Connection" commercials. Every. Single.Word.

9. " The Naked Brothers Band"


The "Naked Brothers Band" had a short run on Nickelodeon and wrote some absolute bangers including, "Crazy Car' and "I Don't Wanna Go To School"

10. Dance Dance Revolution


This one video game caused so many sibling, friend, and parent rivalries. This is also where you learned all of your super sick dance moves.

11. Tamagotchi


Going to school with fear of your Tamagotchi dying while you were away was your biggest worry.

12. Gym Scooters


You, or somebody you know most likely broke or jammed their finger on one of these bad boys, but it was worth it.

13. Scholastic book fairs


Begging your parents for money to buy a new book, and then actually spending it on pens, pencils, erasers, and posters.



Who knew that putting yogurt in a plastic tube made it taste so much better?

15. Slap Bracelets


Your school probably banned these for being "too dangerous".

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