Definition: injured, hurt, or suffering from a wound (physical, mental, or emotional)
Causes: being hurt (purposefully or unintentionally, repeatedly or one time only) by a person or event in the past
Characters in Literature and Pop Culture: Melinda (Speak), Severus Snape, Dally (The Outsiders), Will Hunting (Good Will Hunting)
Positives: Woundeds, when well-written, are relatable. Characters who have been abused or misused are easier for the reader to sympathize with. Even the coldest villain can tweak a reader's heartstrings if his behavior is the result of him being mistreated. Woundeds are often conflicted, acting one way but wanting to act another, or being one person but wanting to be a different kind of person. We all face this same dilemma at different times throughout our lives; seeing someone go through it makes us feel for them, root for them.
Negatives: Because they've been so deeply hurt, Woundeds often act out in ways that others find disturbing or unforgivable. Woundeds have trust issues and difficulty relating deeply to others and often live in isolation. Despite their desire to avoid being hurt again, many Woundeds subconsciously enter into unhealthy relationships that repeat the cycle of past abuse. Though they may not want to hurt others, many Woundeds become the wounders, abusing others in the same way they were mistreated.
Common Portrayals: psychopaths and sociopaths, serial killers, criminals, gang bangers, bullies, the homeless, villains, victims of violent crimes, suicides
Cliches to Avoid: the Wounded who struggles to change but ends up taking his or her own life to escape the pain, the tough-on-the-outside-soft-on-the-inside Wounded, the hooker with the heart of gold
Twists on the traditional Wounded:
- More often than not, a character's wounds are inflicted by others. What about a person becoming who they are solely through their own actions, whether accidental or intentional?
- Instead of the angry, vengeful walking wounded, how about one who is hopeful and optimistic? Make the results of their wounds somehow attractive, instead of repulsive to others. This could lead to a slew of new conflicts between your hero and the people around him.
Conflicting Characteristics to make your Wounded unique or more interesting: trusting, confident, gentle, contented, happy