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I have inadvertently made my character depressed. She's a minor character in my science-fantasy novel, and exists to tie together some of the plot lines.

As I wrote her, this 18yo woman turned out to be a closet lesbian (which isn't a problem), and amongst other things, was overly critical of others, unable to find motivation for her life and future, not wanting to work except that work was where she connects with her lover, not wanting to take the crown (she's the crown princess of a fantasy realm) when her mother, the queen, dies, preferring that her newborn sister inherit the crown and is usually bored but doesn't want to do anything.

Reading what I had written, it struck me as pretty obvious life-long depression that her immediate family didn't notice because they were too close to the problem.

My main character is this character's half-sister, whom she hasn't seen in 12 years and never really got along particularly well with since they are very different... their interaction is frequently insulting, but it's kind of a game, to see who loses their cool first,

I don't know whether to have my MC spot this character's depression or not, and if she does spot it, do something about it or not, or if to rewrite to make this character less or not depressed.

As far as the story goes, any of those options would be equally valid, and the main character would be capable of spotting depression, and while not necessarily able to deal with it herself, could recommend someone who could treat it. The story is such that a character with mental problems wouldn't be out of place.

What would be more interesting?

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  • Um... Seriously, if somebody is depressed the people around will notice. They may not care...
    – Boba Fit
    Commented Mar 2, 2023 at 15:48
  • @BobaFit not necessarily. medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325513 Especially if it has been going on a long time, there may be no basis for comparison.
    – Monty Wild
    Commented Mar 3, 2023 at 3:23

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It depends on what type of character, as in personality, etc., would do it. If the depression is relevant to the plot, then yes, make the MC spot the depression. If it isn't relevant and is filler, but it's interesting nonetheless, maybe keep it in to show more of how the MC would work and their personality as well, it could be good for character development.

Otherwise, if it's filler for the sake of filler, then you can rewrite the character unless the minor character hides her depression very well and the MC won't find out until the minor character directly asks for advice.

As long as it's interesting, gives some sort of character development or it's relevant to the plot, I say for you to put it in.

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