Last Monday (which was really Tuesday as I was really sick on Monday, but let’s not split hairs over the wibbly-wobbliness of time here) I made mention of status. It’s something that we, as writers, don’t tend to focus on when we create characters, so of course I had to be the one to mention something about it.
I’ve been writing forever, and in the past 3 years I’ve taken up improv comedy and acting. Wow, let me tell you, the things I learned about character creation from the acting process has been amazing for my writing craft.
But I digress.
All characters, all people in the world, have a status. It’s learning how to incorporate this status into your writing that will really bring about significant changes in your attitude and in your characters. This week, I’m gonna look at “high status”.
High status is characterized by several physical traits. A high status character is confident. A high status character carries them self with an air of self-assuredness. A high status character takes up as much space as possible, they are possessive in a way that is unspoken, but very clearly there. The phrase “he walked in like he owned the place” is a great example of someone who is of a high status, or at least, believes themselves to be of a high status (whether conscious or unconscious of this fact is a topic for another blog!)
When a high status character speaks, they speak with authority. They do not falter. They do not stumble over their words.
When a high status character moves, they move deliberately. They do not fidget.
When a high status character sits or stands, they do so in an “open” and confident manner. They take up as much space as they can. When sitting, they take up the whole chair. They “own” their space. They stand facing [the person they are speaking to] straight ahead, they do not lean, they do not stand sideways or angle themselves. Everything is an invitation to look at this person.
When a high status character is in conversation or otherwise engaged, they hold their head high, they look whomever they are speaking to in the eye and are not cowed or intimidated.
Of course there are varying degrees of high status, which we will discuss in a later blog because the subtleties are astounding.
When you think of a high status character, you think of a king. Of a queen. Of the wise old wizard who arrives to tell you what’s what. Of the teacher. Of the villain.
Based on my examples, who’s your favorite high status character in recent memory?