Sunday, April 30, 2017

Personality Quirks: Z is for Zealous

A zealot is an uncompromising character who fanatically pursues shis religious, political, or other ideals. One who is zealous is not considered a reasonable rational person. The object of the zealotry overrides normal social strictures, thus some are merely in-your-face offensive to you and others blow up train stations.

Historically, the word represents a member of an ancient Jewish sect that resisted the Romans until 70 CE and aimed for a world Jewish theocracy. Zealot has expanded well beyond that historical beginning. We have had all flavors of zealous folks since then.

I found an interesting etymology for zealot. The word derives from ecclesiastical Latin and originally comes from the Greek zelos meaning ‘be jealous.’ How did jealousy turn into fanaticism?

You of course can see the potential to use your religious zealous character in a thriller where heesh is trying to protect shis religious beliefs/icons from what heesh considers to be sacrilege. Perhaps your zealous character believes that the Pope is an impediment to shis religious beliefs and sets out to rid the world of him. Is your zealous character Catholic or is heesh from another faith tradition or even an atheist? How could your zealot get close enough to the Pope to harm him? Is heesh working alone or in concert with a group?

Another kind of book is murder mystery. This time your zealous character is a fitness and health guru whom many hundreds of thousands follow unquestioningly. Heesh writes books, has a video series for cooking and exercise, and has frequent large-scale workshops. Is it a fa├žade? Is the zealot for real or a fraud pretending to be a strict adherent as a way to milk the gullible public? What if a spurned lover writes a tell-all that threatens the comfortable lifestyle and image of your zealous character? Might the spurned lover end up dead? And if so, by whose hand? Your zealous character is the obvious suspect. But did heesh do the deed?

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Here are some ideas for #writers on creating zealous #characters from @RomanceRighter


  1. Whenever I hear this word, I'm reminded of the time I was playing Scrabble with my mom and I used that word. She was really impressed that I knew it, but I can't recall now where I had heard it.
    Congrats on finishing the challenge.

    ~Patricia Lynne aka Patricia Josephine~
    Story Dam
    Patricia Lynne, Indie Author

    1. Thanks, and to you, too! This was a fun one.