Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Nature vs Nurture Part 1

There is a show that I have been watching lately called “Samantha Who?” It is about a woman who was in a car accident and now has amnesia. Before she was hit she was a devil and only cared about herself and hurt a lot of other people. Now she has become an angel and is trying to rectify all of her past mistakes and live a better life.

This leads me to something that is important to understand, a person may have talent and abilities but without the right circumstances those abilities will not manifest. The example that was used in class was Tiger Woods. He is a great golfer and definitely has an innate ability to golf, but what if he had been born in Africa. Would he have been a great golfer if he was born to a poor African family?

This brings us to another important point of nature versus nurture. What is more important what is the driving force behind a person’s abilities, personality, behavior….? This is something that has been debated for years if not centuries. I personally believe that both have a lot to do with who a person is, just like the example of Tiger Woods.

In my new novel I am writing I have a woman who is a warrior but she has been sheltered because of her family’s position. When she gets to the gladiator pit and has to fight for her life she needs to be able to survive (the story would be over if she didn’t). She has the ability from birth but I also had to create a reason that it would manifest. I gave her a good friend who she dueled with, he was the captain of the guard. Now she has the opportunity to learn and increase her natural born abilities.

So, we need to not only understand the natural born abilities of our characters (and self) but also put them in circumstances in which those abilities can be strengthened and improved.

What are you doing to cover both of these areas? How have you seen it in your own life?

I have also posted a link on the trampoline page check it out it is a TED video of five things kids should do.


  1. I agree that it is a combination of nature and nurture. We may have some things naturally within us, but without the proper conditions surrounding us, they will not manifest. I think it is important to have our characters respond and be as realistic as possible. Thanks for the help!

  2. Very interesting post!

    I know many of my characters would be very different people if they grew up in different circumstances, or had different experiences--I try to consider that when I'm thinking about backstory or references made to a character's past.

  3. I've used present day challenges that work out right to contrast with my characters' past circumstances. Sometimes, characters understand better how to deal with the 'now' situation because of what they went through in the past.

  4. But, what if you had two people, same events, one decides to go one way and the other left in some kind of limbo?? This perhaps is a challenge of personality traits potentially you may not have realized. Characters do not have to respond to the same conditions in the same way. I just thought I would share, hope this was alright to say. Keep creating Jack...I would like an autographed copy of your novel!!! Best Wishes.

  5. Definitely much to think about in your post. I agree with you that it is a combination of both. Without the inbred "nature" there would be nothing to "nurture" and vis a versa.

    I've back tracked and read much of your Samantha posts in the past and look forward to reading more.

    Thank you for being such a wonderful supporter of my work. You are so AMAZING for my self esteem.


  6. That's really interesting to think about. It is kind of neat to think about how culture, education, family life, etc...shape our behaviors just as much personality.

  7. I think about nature vs. nurture all the time in real life, but you make a great point about thinking of it in terms of character. Thanks!

  8. nice. i agree and i think this plays out in real life...the trick is not to create a superhuman that then becomes un relatable...

  9. I think there are a lot of things we're capable of that we don't realise because we've never been put in a situation where we need those tools or talents.

  10. There is no way of distinguishing how much influence nature and nurture have. Everyone is effected by both but I think it can really vary from person to person. Some people if born in a different place or time would have turned out a lot differently than they are, while others would be very similar. It does give me a lot to think about as I work with my own characters. Thanks.

  11. I believe that everyone comes with innate talents and abilities, however without cultivation, learning and practice they will not be realized. For instance, you can give a group of people the same number and caliber of sewing lessons, but some will thrive and create while others will be frustrated and unproductive. To some it is given the talent of writing and to some it is given the talent to read well what others have written. ;) That being said, I think nurture can sure help nature out! And maybe an African Tiger Woods would have still had a really great work ethic and stick-to-itiveness with whatever it was that he tried there. :)


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