Why You Should Have Judgmental Characters – by Janice Hardy…

on Fiction University:

For a strong point of view, let your characters have strong opinions.

In real life, being judgmental might cause a few problems, but in fiction, it’s something every character should aspire to. How characters—especially the point of view characters—judge the world around them shows readers what that world is like and how it works (and even non-genre writers need to world build, it’s just a little different in the details).

Our characters see something, they judge it as it pertains to their personal views. If we write a scene where a girl walks a dog down the street, how our characters judge that will determine how we’ll describe it and even how they’ll react to it.

Someone afraid of dogs will see details that support that: large size, straining on a leash to bite them, big teeth. The judgment is “dogs are bad” and the reaction will reflect that.

Someone who loves dogs will see different details: floppy ears, tongue hanging out, straining to greet and lick everyone. The judgment is “dogs are cute” and the reaction will reflect that as well.

Someone who has never seen a dog before will see different details still: human overlord, quadrupedal locomotion device, snack on the go. The judgment is “whatever alien opinion” and we can have great fun reflecting that.

No matter who the character is, alien or human, they’ll see something and judge it. How they see it says a lot of about them and brings a deeper layer to the character. If they don’t care about anything at all, that can be reflected, too.

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