I am trying to describe a male main character that grew up in a less friendly family. Can I say he is a cold and quiet introvert or less engaged?

  • 3
    Yes, you can say anything you want about your characters, but it's generally better to SHOW a main character acting a certain way and allow the reader to come to their own conclusions how and why they behave this way, rather than just TELL the reader they are anti-social because of a dysfunctional family.
    – wetcircuit
    Sep 20, 2021 at 11:29
  • The reasons for his cold behavior are only relevant if they either are important to the story OR you want him to act that way but you feel his behavior makes him unsympathetic to the reader. Your question needs more detail to explain (it's confusing). Why is gender relevant, for example? Do you feel only those from dysfunctional families behave this way?
    – DWKraus
    Sep 21, 2021 at 21:50

1 Answer 1


Research the character traits of men who grew up in a dysfunctional family, then put those traits into the context of your story so it advances the plot in some relevant way. Think carefully whether you want the reader to see those traits as mannerisms (shoulder shrug, body language, frown...) or hear (read) them as dialog between your main character and one or more other characters. Good luck! Well, maybe not luck, but certainly a lot of free (discovery) writing and revision.

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