Definition: characterized by wisdom; marked by keen understanding and discernment
Characters in Literature and Popular Culture: Yoda, Gandalf, Charlotte (Charlotte’s Web)
Common Portrayals: wizards, mentors, teachers, coaches, judges, therapists, the elderly
Clichés to Avoid: the wise hermit living on the outskirts of society because he can no longer stand to live among humans; the kindly grandfather or grandmother; the crackpot wise person
Twists on the Traditional Wise Character:
▪ Because these characters are so often right, they’re sometimes cast as being perfect and never making mistakes. Make sure your wise person has some flaws.
▪ There’s nothing more boring than a character who always makes the right decisions. To make him more likable, give your character some quirks or goofy habits. Even better, make him a person who knows the right thing to do but who struggles to do it.
▪ Wise characters are supposed to have all the answers, but part of wisdom lies i knowing when you’re out-matched. Limit your wise character’s knowledge. Don’t make him or her omniscient.
▪ Age isn’t a requirement for wisdom. To switch things up, choose a child or teen to mentor an older hero in need of guidance.
Build a worthy protagonist with a mix of unique strengths that will help him overcome obstacles and achieve meaningful goals.
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