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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Q. How do you make a character super-smart, supposing for the moment that you are not yourself super-smart?
Well, you have the advantage over him. You can take the time to think things through. Just have him do things instinctively that you would only think to do after some thought. Have him say things it would take you time to think of, and so forth.

You can also have him set up elaborate plans that most of us wouldn't have the confidence to try, and have them work. In real life, intelligent people usually try to make things as simple as possible. But a sure sign of high intelligence is elaborate plans that go off the way they are meant to. E.g. the D-Day deception, the maneuvers at Cannae, the landings at Inchon, the Great Train Robbery, the rescue at Entebbe.

You can also demonstrate high intelligence by having the character able to draw conclusions from his keen powers of observations, whether of forensic detail (see Holmes, Sherlock) or of personality (see "I did not have sex with that woman").

A great rabbi was once asked how he always had the perfect anecdote to illustrate his judgments. He said, "I went to visit a man who had targets painted on the walls of his barn. In the middle of each target was an arrow. I asked him how he became such a good archer. Simple, he said. I shoot the arrow, then I paint the target." You're telling the story, so just pick the situations in which he can shine.

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Make your character a woman?

By Blogger Rhea, at 3:17 PM  

Depends on what you mean by smart, I would think, and the other personality characteristics, dispositions, etc. etc. that apply to the character.

Also, I would think what you want the character to accomplish, what kind of effect you would want them to have on the audience, etc. etc. also would enter into the equation of portraying the character.

By Blogger The_Lex, at 5:28 PM  

"You can also have him set up elaborate plans that most of us wouldn't have the confidence to try, and have them work."

That sounds like every episode of Dr. Who I've ever watched.

By Blogger Josh, at 6:21 PM  

Also, smart characters always have glasses.

By Blogger Morley, at 10:38 AM  

That was good advice.

Maybe you could also have them say things in an instant that you had to research. Something like "The oscillations due to 3 g's of force are shifting the centre of pressure" (okay that didn't make any sense) But I guess that would get annoying if it was used too much.

By Blogger chiya, at 4:30 PM  

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