Character in Victory and Defeat

Do you agree with the idea that a character can be shown better in defeat than in victory? Think about the last character you wrote about. What was happening to him or her? Were they being defeated or conquering? Would it be easier to show their defeat or victory through dialogue or description? Or would you just narrate that and not leave it up to speculation?

I’d like to think people’s characters can thrive in either situation. You know, that idea about good winners and poor losers. It should work both ways. Maybe it’s more about the writer’s own character than the character created for the page.

It’s worth thinking about. How would you describe the setting differently if the character was happy, doing well and having a great victory compared to the setting of a character who was having a bad day, etc.? There would be small details like how they carry themselves, body language and tone of voice if they speak. Larger things like their reactions to other people and things that interact with them. Aggression and violence could develop for the defeated character. Whereas someone who has won would be aggressive but not in a violent or threatening way, over exuberant perhaps. Both can be intimidating for different reasons.

How much does the mood of a character influence their surroundings. You know when you are feeling angry you see things differently than when you are sad, happy, or laid back. Do you consider that aspect as you write the scene? Back to that is the glass half full or half empty.

Anyway, it’s something I read in a book about fiction writing, an old book but still some interesting ideas. Yet another way to show without telling.