Character Bank – Street Smart vs. Book Smart

This month all of the prompts that come out will be ones I came up with to share with you. This first one is based off a pair of sisters in one of my stories. I made the prompt based off their relationship, but of course you can switch it around to suit your characters if your wish to use it.

Before I continue, I’d like to include some definitions for the terms in the title. The definitions listed below are from Wordnik.

Writing Prompt

street smart
ADJECTIVE
▪ having the shrewd resourcefulness needed to survive in an urban environment

book smart
ADJECTIVE
▪ having knowledge obtained by reading and studying, rather than by practical experience.

Now that we have the terms defined, I thought I’d share a little bit about the characters this prompt is based off. For my story, the older sister, Addison, is street smart, ever weary and aware of her surroundings. She looks out for her sister, even in situations her sister would not be happy to know about and will do objectively bad things if she thinks it will help her sister.

The younger sister, Arielle, is very well read. She pays attention to her studies and knows things her sister should know but doesn’t. She doesn’t have a lot of experience outside her books though as her knowledge is mostly academic.

I have a similar dynamic between two brothers in another story, Simeon and Jordan. Where Addison and Arielle have no other siblings, Simeon and Jordan have two, Allen and Tracy. They aren’t the same by any means, but there are similarities. In this case, Simeon, the older brother is still the street smart one and Jordan, the younger is still the book smart one. However, Jordan is the one more likely to do things regardless of the right or wrong of them for the sake of his siblings while Simeon is willing to sacrifice himself if necessary to stop his siblings from doing certain things they should not.

Do you already have siblings, or maybe friends, who have a dynamic like this? What kind of characters do you see filling this kind of relationship?

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