Stubbornness is a trait that can be positive or negative. Is the root cause pride, or is it determination or noble intent? Each puts a very different spin on a stubborn character, and will dictate their motives. A few possible causes for this trait: growing up spoiled & used to getting one's own way; control issues; a strong sense of right and wrong; fierce independence; an intense drive to succeed, win or be right; etc
Characters in Literature:
Bull-headed characters pick a course of action and can be trusted to see it through to the end. Because of this, characters with stubborn streaks make good leaders, provided they can take council when needed. Stubborns apply this trait to their relationships as well, becoming fiercely loyal to those who win their affections. Stubborn characters with an unparallelled sense of morality will always fight for what is right, no matter the obstacles. A special note: all heroes have a stubborn streak, and the fact that they cannot be contained is partly what makes them great.
Stubborns do not always know when enough is enough, and can sometimes push people to the breaking point simply because of their inability to deviate from a standpoint or course of action once set. Some Stubborns struggle with adaptability and miss the forest for the trees because they view problems from one angle only. They may hold to a goal even when it is no longer prudent to do so and have a hard time letting others contribute or control. Letting Pride drive their stubbornness can provide challenges or cause relationships to crumble, bringing pain to everyone involved.
The resolute boss; a stubborn toddler; military leadership; lawyers
Cliches to Avoid:
The military general hell-bent on winning no matter what the cost; spoiled brat kids; villains who are stubborn to a fault and as a result, it is their downfall (that's the easy way out, IMO.)
Twists on the Traditional Stubborn:
- Stubbornness is almost always a positive for a protagonist, helping them to have the drive to succeed. Show us a situation where stubbornness due to a strong sense of right and wrong causes him or those around him great hardship.
- Protags and Antags need to have a certain amount of Stubbornness but the root of an antag's stubborn trait is almost always pride. So....show us a Villain who's stubbornness comes from moral or noble roots instead!
- Flip a cliche. Write a story where the stubborn 'spoiled brat' actually uses her stubbornness for good. Or the stubborn military leader who really does need to win, whatever the cost.