Definition: A person inclined to dominate, dictate, be pushy and overbearing
Wanting to be in charge, a need to be in control, exhibiting taught behavior (domineering parents, siblings, friends, etc), being the eldest child, being the youngest child, a lack of control in other areas of life, an overindulged childhood, insecurity that results in a need to prove something (intelligence, knowledge, being right, capability, etc), self-righteousness (the belief that the character truly is the best person to do the job and therefore is justified in telling others how to do it)
Characters in Literature:
Hermione Granger (Harry Potter), Mr. Dussel (The Diary of Anne Frank)
Bossies are usually comfortable leading. While some are incompetent, others are legitimately good at what they do, efficient, always striving to be and do better. They are bold and outspoken. Bossies are often very knowledgeable in specific areas. Some supporting characters will follow and respond to a Bossy if he is strong enough in other areas (effective leadership, clear communicator, ability to produce favorable results, etc).
Bossies can be demeaning, insulting, and degrading. Many of them lack the social skills necessary to develop meaningful relationships, which is ironic since most of them really want to be in charge of others. Their belief that they can do things better than anyone else often results in impatience, self-righteousness, and snobbery. Bossies have a very difficult time working with other Bossies. The incompetent Bossy is one who uses bossiness to mask his insecurity. He is always fearful that others will discover the truth about him, and will go to great risks to protect his secret.
An overseer who is always hovering and micro-managing, the student waving his hand in the air, speaking out of turn, interrupting, correcting misinformation, offering information that may or may not be relevant simply to show how much they know, sneering, sniffing in disdain, looking down their noses at people, offering advice when it isn't wanted
Possible Cliches to Avoid:
The overbearing schoolgirl or bossy little sister, the clearly incompetent but dictatorial manager, know-it-alls
Twists on the Traditional Bossy:
- Instead of having a Bossy character who's bossy just for the sake of meanness, give him a reason to be that way. Show why he is the way he is.
- Create a Bossy who knows he's incompetent and doesn't hide it, but for whatever reason, still is compelled to push people around
- Bossies don't have to be know-it-alls! A person might be bossy by constantly finding fault and criticizing others in an effort to change them. Another kind of Bossy could be the expert at "delegating" (ie, sitting back and giving orders while others do the work). Redefine Bossy to make it work in a new way.
- Traditionally, villains and mentors are bossy. Try a bossy hero or trickster instead.
Additional characteristics to make your Bossy unique or unusual:
polite, nervous, shy, thoughtful, affectionate, charming, charismatic, non-confrontational