Because of and In Spite of for Characters

“Because of” or “in spite of” can be a useful analysis in creating and analyzing characters. How did the character come to be the way he or she is?

The “because of” is usually something beneficial (conscientious upbringing, education, birth place, wealth, status, etc.), but can also be an ordeal of condition conquered and making the character come through stronger.

The “in spite of” is usually an obstacle, accident, or slight of some kind which often keeps others down, but can also be wasted opportunities or failure to learn from past experiences.
Of course, one event in a character’s life can have elements of both, such as Todd enduring Genii captivity.

And, some events or things can be miscategorized entirely. People sometimes mistakenly see gifts or unique features or experiences as obstacles, playing them down or hiding them, causing opportunities to go right by them, instead of embracing who they really are. Perceived variances are often things which set them apart from the competition by creating a personal brand or style which is hard for others to duplicate and would, in fact, attract more meaningful opportunities from likeminded or appreciative people. Examples: Cindy Crawford’s face marking makes her memorable among other models. Telling people one likes art and/or scifi can connect one to others who share valuable expertise and/or friendship.

Besides fictional characters, what about you? What are the because-ofs and in-spite-ofs which impacted you? What opportunities can you uncover and what are you going to do about them?

SGA example exercise: Todd the Wraith

Because of:
Genii captivity strengthened his inner spirit
Over 10,000 years of life experience
Born into a dominant culture with excellent tech and skills
Ambitious and knowledge-seeking personality
Positive exposure to collaborating with an alien human while in Genii captivity
Talents of creativity, persuasion, negotiation
Rare and valuable ship repairing knowledge
Previous war experience with Ancients and Ancient technology

In Spite of:
Prolonged of starvation and torture by Kolya
Years and status lost while being held captive
Born into a culture where males have obstacles being leaders
Being a part of a culture averse to alliances with humans who are not labelled as worshippers
Loss of more than one hive/home and having to start over more than once
Civil war climate of distrust and betrayals