Wednesday, 27 April 2011


Character is not reflected by what we say, or even by what is intend, it is a reflection of what we do.- Anonymous


Values are the basic beliefs that determine our behaviour. Not all values are ethical, some are neutral or non-ethical.

Values fall into two categories:

Stated – what individuals say are important to them

Operational – what the character habitually does.

If the reader knows the character’s values they can predict how the character will react as the conflicts are heightened.

The values do not always need to be explained in full. If we follow the characters’ behaviour as it is revealed we can guess their values. 

Some values are taught by family, friends, schools or religions. 

Sometimes what organisations or individuals say they believe is opposite to what they actually practise. When this happens we call it hypocrisy.

What values does your character hold?

How do they conflict with other characters’ beliefs?

What values do the different social groups teach?

Consider where there could be inconsistencies and hypocrisy.

Ethics define moral rights and wrongs. They transcend culture, ethnicity, and are relevant to all socioeconomic conditions. Ethics are the “should” and the “ought” of life.

Morals are ethical principles. They are founded on fundamental principles of right conduct rather than legalities. Morals are always the same. Immorality varies from generation to generation.

These values are aligned to show values which often conflict.

Understanding                                              Strength

Growth                                                           Authority – bureaucratic

Cooperation – service                                 Control and power

Love of life                                                    Love of objects and order

Reflection                                                      Instant action

Sharing                                                          Possessiveness and ownership

Security by trust and knowledge                 Security by property

Intimacy important – reveals self                Inhibition of intimacy
and feelings

Perceptive and sensitive to people            Formalisation and 
                                                                        institutionalisation of
                                                                        intimacy and care

Reactions are sincere and human              Smiles are flashed 
                                                                         and overly polite

Not interfering, accepting yet caring           Interfering – must control 
and supportive                                               others

Change accepted as inevitable                  Hierarchy structure more important                

Change is desirable self loving                  Change and experimentation
                                                                       makes characters loveable

Value of individual importance                     Ritualised social standard of      
and values emphasised                                 dress,  procedure 
                                                                           and ceremony

Width of vision tends to be                           Narrow vision tends to 
 embracing  and analytical                             be prescriptive

Concern for truth and reality                        Concern for appearances

Poetic in thought and language                 Literal in thought 
                                                                       and language

Accepts all – understanding                       Narcissic – loves self and   
and tolerant                                                   likes self – rejects others

Non-material spiritual regard to life           Death, materialism, techniques and technology all      fascinate

Intrinsic motivation – faith in the                   Extrinsic motivation – gains are material
rightness of life, nature accomplishing
growth (providential.) Anything negative
or evil is always counter-productive

Human nature weak but good.                      Human nature believed to 
Human nature fails in self-asserting              be aggressive
patriarchal value system

Respects integrity                                          Respects physical looks

Love of life, sex, relating                                Love of sports, war, intrigue

Truth, essence, empathy, experience          Honour, pride, success, nationalism,
of self motivates in progress.                        pleasure – above are the most
Pain is lack of progress.                                noble feelings. 
Sorrow is rejection into aloneness.               Fear of failure motives.
Joy is unification within
the whole.    

Creative ie life is sustained                             Destructive self defensive 
                                                                            – conflict

Values symbolised by womanliness              Values symbolised by manliness

Vaguely, feeling?

vague, valourous, valued, vapid, vengeful, veracious, vexed, vicious, victorious, volatile, voracious, vulnerable

"If you know what your values are
If you know what your standards are
If you know what is important to you
If you have a point of view
Then you have a sense of direction.
Then you know where you are going."

                       ~ Mildred Newman

There is light at the end of the tunnel; never has the alphabet seemed so long ;)