Definition: unswerving in allegiance
Characters in Literature: Sam Gamgee (Lord of the Rings), Lloyd Henreid (The Stand), Rikki-Tikki-Tavi
Common Portrayals: soldiers, yes-men in the business world, cult members, best friends, the mafia
Clichés to Avoid: comparing someone’s loyalty to that of a dog, kissing the ring as a pledge of loyalty, criminals who choose prison or death rather than rather than rolling over on an accomplice
Twists on the Traditional Loyal Character:
▪ Instead of blind loyalty, show the conflict of a truly loyal person torn between supporting the one they love and adhering to another valued ideal (the truth, the law, another important relationship)
▪ Loyal characters tend to attract other loyal characters. Make life difficult for your character by pairing him with someone who does not value loyalty, or someone who is equally loyal to an opposing person or ideal.
▪ How about a loyal character who has another, equally strong character trait that makes it difficult for him to be loyal? (see below)
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.
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