I need some help. I am already deep into 2 stories that involve composers and in both stories there is a character based on Ludwig van Beethoven. Here is what I have trouble getting across:

Friendly and stressed at the same time

This is the typical way my Beethoven character feels. He sounds friendly and he is. He would save his best friend from a disaster. At the same time though, he is stressed out like very often. Sometimes it comes out as an angry tone. But often, this comes out as him tearing up letters. Also, people who know him well see him differently than those who have just met him.

People who know Beethoven well:

Beethoven would do anything for me, I just know it. He will understand what I'm saying and won't lash out simply because of what I said.

People who have just met Beethoven:

What the? I asked him politely and what I asked him wasn't even that hard on him, and yet, he is yelling at me and it looks like he might hurt me severely. Why did I even agree to meet this Beethoven guy when he gets so angry at every little thing I say?

As you can probably tell, my Beethoven character has a bipolar personality. But I'm having difficulty making the angry speech and the friendly speech both sound like they are from the same person. Angry Beethoven sounds completely unrelated from friendly Beethoven, yet, it is the same person speaking. I don't want to have to mention Beethoven's name every time he speaks. I already mention things like "Beethoven tore up letters in anger" in the narration, but it doesn't seem to be enough to make the dialogue from this particular character sound like it is coming from the same person regardless of emotion.

If you need to know what triggers him to suddenly lash out in anger at a friendly person, there are 2 known triggers in my stories, acquaintances and letters asking him to write another great symphony. There are probably other anger triggers as well, but these are not known in the stories because they aren't relevant to the stories.

So, how can I make Beethoven's speech more cohesive while also getting across the extreme emotional swings that he experiences, going from calm and friendly one minute to suddenly lashing out in anger the next?


If he’s bi-polar, it’s more likely that he lashes out at those he loves and that he knows love and care for him. It is safe for him to take it out on the people he trusts. I think it’s more likely that he is courteous and charming to strangers.

It’s not going to be what he says but how he say it. Friendly and seemingly gracious to strangers and belligerent and rude to close family and friends.

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