Made rebloggable per request.
Anonymous asked: Can you do a how to play a rebellious character guide?
This has been sitting in my inbox for obnoxiously long a time, and I apologize for that. I was going to get back to you much sooner, but there were some obstacles in the way. I hope you might still have some use of this, however.
I suppose we must first define “rebellious”, correct? According to the dictionary, being rebellious means defying or resisting some established authority, government, or tradition; insubordinate; inclined to rebel.
In my experience, rebellious characters tend to have no sympathy for authority figures of any sort—not to mention how they tend to come with their own moral compass, a solid idea of “right” and “wrong”, which may or may not differ from the rest of society’s. Rebellious characters march to the beat of their own drum rather than someone else’s, so to speak, and are not inclined to take orders from others—especially not without asking questions and raising a little hell first. They don’t like the rules and traditional values set up by society for some reason, and thus break them or refuse to conform to them instead.
I also find that rebellious characters, while defiant and not abiding by norms, also tend to be willing to fight for what they believe in. Sometimes rebellious characters also come with trust issues, which lead them to work alone, rather than with other people. The source of the character’s rebellious streak can be, but is not limited to, them being subjected to oppression or some sort of suffocation of freedom in their past.
When you take on a rebellious character, I would recommend you start by pinpointing the source of the character’s behavior, which most likely will be found in their backstory or upbringing. Some characters are so-called rebels without a cause, but for most, there is an underlying reason. Perhaps the character’s parents or guardians were unnecessarily strict or overprotective as the character grew up, leading to them rebelling once they got older, in an attempt of gaining some sort of freedom. Maybe the character has ran into a lot of trouble with law enforcement, bullies, or other authority figures, and is now rebelling against them as a result. Or, perhaps the character is part of an oppressed minority or group of people, perhaps in a post-apocalyptic or dystopian setting of sorts, and is rebelling in order to gain control again. These are all very valid, but very different, types of rebellious; and your character’s motives as well as actions would depend on the underlying cause for it. Always begin by identifying the why, and then move on to the how.
When people ask me for advice on portraying a character with a certain personality trait, I also tend to remind them not to build the entire character on that one trait. Yes, it might be their most dominant characteristic, but don’t forget to focus on their other traits as well, both positives and negatives. Just because your character is described as rebellious, that doesn’t mean they have to rebel 24/7 either; basically, be careful not to overdo it. Perhaps your character only has a problem with a certain type of authority figure, rather than all of them—and perhaps there are people in the character’s life they trust enough to take “orders” from, even though they might not listen to other people. It depends entirely on your character, really, and is something you will need to evaluate on a case by case basis.
There are plenty of characters who could be described as rebellious in popular culture—books, television, films—so, if you want some further inspiration, you could try to read up on a few of them. Some well-known rebellious characters from pop culture I could think of right on the spot include Harry Potter from Harry Potter, Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games, Dean Winchester from Supernatural, Faith Lehane from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Mal Reynolds from Firefly, as well as Wolverine from the Marvel Universe.
I’ve also gathered some links for you where you can do additional research or find more inspiration, aside from the things I’ve already said. Check these out, for instance:
Hopefully this helped!