Character Trait Entry: Charismatic

Definition: having a special magnetic charm or appeal; having the ability to arouse loyalty or enthusiasm through charm or influence

Characters in Literature and History: Aragorn (Lord of the Rings), John F. Kennedy, Adolf Hitler

Common Portrayals: politicians, prom queens, quarterbacks, visionaries, con-men, villains

Clichés to Avoid: grasping politicians with an agenda, the reluctant leader

Twists on the Traditional Charismatic Character: 

▪ Charismatic characters are usually portrayed as 1) egomaniacs seeking to further their selfish goals, or 2) bleeding-heart philanthropists who live to make things better for the less fortunate. How about something in between, like a girl using her influence to raise awareness about the disease that is killing her boyfriend.

▪ Instead of someone who is reluctant or narcissistic, try an eager leader who is completely ignorant of the flaws that work against his charisma (fear of public speaking, bad breath, no fashion sense, spits when he talks).

Build a worthy protagonist with a mix of unique strengths that will help him overcome obstacles and achieve meaningful goals.

This sample, along with the rest of the character trait entries, has been expanded into book form. Together, the bestselling NEGATIVE TRAIT THESAURUS: A WRITER’S GUIDE TO CHARACTER FLAWS and POSITIVE TRAIT THESAURUS: A WRITER’S GUIDE TO CHARACTER ATTRIBUTES contain over 200 traits for you to choose from when creating memorable, compelling characters. Each entry contains possible causes for the trait, as well as positive and negative aspects, traits in supporting characters that may cause conflict, and associated behaviors, attitudes, thoughts, and emotions. For more information on this bestselling book and where it can be found, please visit our bookstore.

Love working online and having your favorite description resources in one place? We’ve got you covered. The entries from the Positive Trait Thesaurus book have been integrated into our online library at One Stop For Writers. Now you can search and cross-reference between all our thesaurus collections quickly and easily. Interested in viewing a free sample? Register at One Stop and see all that this intuitive library for writers has to offer.

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About BECCA PUGLISI

Becca Puglisi is an international speaker, writing coach, and bestselling author of The Emotion Thesaurus and its sequels. Her books are available in five languages, are sourced by US universities, and are used by novelists, screenwriters, editors, and psychologists around the world. She is passionate about learning and sharing her knowledge with others through her Writers Helping Writers blog and via One Stop For Writers—a powerhouse online library created to help writers elevate their storytelling. You can find Becca online at both of these spots, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.
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23 Responses to Character Trait Entry: Charismatic

  1. Hey, Angela! It’s great to meet you – especially as a fellow writer! Thanks so much for commenting on my blog and becoming a Follower! Your blog is great, and I look forward to coming back soon!

    Thanks again!

  2. Once I was able to stop drooling over your picture…I really learned a lot from your post. Great insight. 🙂
    Edge of Your Seat Romance

  3. That is a most excellent photo selection.

  4. Kristen says:

    Just catching up on reading blogs–charisma is such an interesting trait, and I find hard to get just right. But if you do it right, your character is bound to hook readers, right?
    Always worth trying! And I am. 🙂

  5. Jeff King says:

    I love these character types!

    Nice post.

  6. NOM NOM.

    That is all.

    *drools*

    Angela

  7. Sharon Jones says:

    Great post, as usual…
    and, I agree with all of the above comments…you know, the ones drooling over Aragorn.
    OH YEAH!

    Sharon:)

  8. alaw says:

    ARAGORN! YES! MY KING!!!

  9. Thanks so much, Deirdra! *flexes muscles* 😉

  10. You have a fabulous blog! I want to award you with one of my homemade awards: Powerful Woman Writer Award for all the hard work you do!

    Go to http://astorybookworld.blogspot.com/p/awards.html and pick up your award.
    ~Deirdra

  11. Deb Marshall says:

    Nice. Love the conflicting characteristics….make for a very interesting hero IMO!

  12. Great post!

    Interesting point about people who are charismatic–but who also have other characteristics that aren’t so appealing.

  13. Great post, Becca! 🙂

  14. Karen Lange says:

    Thank you! This will come in handy. 🙂

  15. A great analysis of charisma. I may shamelessly steal some of your ideas on how to break out of this box.

  16. Heather says:

    Ah Aragorn, a fine example indeed. 🙂 You made me really think about both sides of charismatic with this one!

  17. Some great thoughts here! It really is such a ‘bipolar’ characteristic, for lack of a better word. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  18. Great portrait! Definitely bookmarked. Thanks!

  19. Jen says:

    I’m sorry, Becca. Did you say something?
    Must. Look. Away. From. Aragorn.

    Great post! 🙂

  20. LOVE the chosen picture. Such an inviting character trait to work with. Excellent post.

  21. genelempp says:

    Nicely done, Becca! Great suggestions in the “Twists” segment.

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