Introducing…the Character Traits Thesaurus

Quick, name your favorite character.
Now list a trait or two that defines him/her.
Chances are, you were able to come up with a defining trait fairly quickly. That’s because likable characters are memorable. They exhibit qualities that we admire or can relate to. Creating memorable characters is key to creating memorable stories. To test this theory, ask yourself if your character’s story is on your list of favorite books.
Like any important job, character creation isn’t easy. You have to consider what traits to give your hero to make it possible (or seemingly impossible) for her to achieve her goals. She’ll also need characteristics that readers will relate to or empathize with. Having a flaw to overcome is always nice, too. And you don’t want to recreate any existing characters, so you’ll need to combine her qualities in a way that has never been done before.
It’s a tough job, but we all have to do it. Here’s hoping that our new CHARACTER TRAITS THESAURUS will help.
The goal of this resource is to examine many existing character traits through the lens of character creation. What might have caused this trait to surface in my character? What are the positives and negatives of this quality? How might I pair it with other characteristics to create someone truly original and interesting?
Our hope is that these entries will shed new light on existing traits, enabling you to create some new favorite characters. You can find all entries for this thesaurus here.


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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49 Responses to Introducing…the Character Traits Thesaurus

  1. Pingback: The Positive and Negative Trait Thesaurus COVER REVEAL! | WRITERS HELPING WRITERSWRITERS HELPING WRITERS

  2. Pingback: Character Traits Thesaurus Collection | Writers Helping Writers

  3. Jackie says:

    Congrats! I’m so excited for you, and excited for us.

  4. Annette says:

    I just bought the Emotion Thesaurus and look forward to adding the Character Traits to my writers toolbox. Thanks

  5. This is perfect! I’ve been looking for a good resource for character traits! 🙂 Thanks so much for this wonderful tool!

  6. Morgan Lee says:

    Can’t wait! You guys so rock! Your blog is any writers dream.

  7. I love this blog.


    I just wanted to let you know I’ve given you the Versatile Blogger Award! Check it out here:

  8. Jeigh says:

    You guys are so awesome! Can’t wait to see this new thesaurus!

  9. Anonymous says:

    This has gotta be the best thesuarus yet. I’m always up all night trying to spice up the characters.

  10. Bailor says:

    OH, I am so excited to see what you guys come up with. C: your blog is so helpful.

  11. Owllady says:

    This is such a great idea, I’ve added your button to my blog. 😀

  12. OH you are GOOD! Fantastic idea!

  13. Lydia K says:

    What a great idea! Your Thesauruses (thesauri?) are awesome.

    Thanks for your supportive comment on my post. The best pro-conference therapy ever!

  14. Yea! This sounds amazing! Can’t wait to read more! Many thanks, as always.

  15. Deb Marshall says:

    Oh my wow and SUweeet! That is all:)

  16. Can’t wait until it comes out!

  17. This will be another great addition to your sidebar…

  18. ANOTHER reason to love this blog. Thank you!!

  19. Sharon Jones says:

    If you ladies stop by my blog, you can pick up your *Award*

    Thanks for a great blog!

    Sharon 🙂

  20. alaw says:

    Can’t wait to see it! By the way, this is a great blog…I know it’s going to help me with my writing a LOT!

  21. alaw says:

    Can’t wait to see it! By the way, this is a great blog…I know it’s going to help me with my writing a LOT!

  22. Thanks everyone. We are totally jazzed about this new thesaurus and hope it really helps you think about traits in a new way!

    @EEV I love Pippin. And Merry. They are both such awesome characters, so they inspire us to create new versions of them!

    @Valley, yes there is a positive and negative aspect–you’ll have to have a look and tell us what you think of it.

    @SP, at some point, I could see us creating a list in a single post, but of course these tags should always be used in moderation anyway. If you’re looking for something close to beat tags that is also emotional showing, look up our emotion thesaurus entries in the sidebar.


  23. Awesome new thesaurus!

  24. SP Sipal says:

    This will be a great resource! I can think of another thesaurus like this that I’d love to have, but might require more than one or two words — action tags. I way overuse some, like “he shrugged,” “she grinned,” etc, and am constantly struggling to come up with a new way of phrasing things but also keeping it simple.

  25. Oi, I listed a dozen characters in my writing and their traits in the space of a few seconds…. I love all my characters and LOVE creating them. XD
    This sounds like an awesome thesaurus to have on hand and I am glad I am following you now. 😀

  26. Piper Bayard says:

    Ooo. I love it! Can’t wait to see what you come up with.

  27. Nancy Kelley says:

    You are my hero. Character creation is really the bane of my existence. Once they’re formed in my mind, I can easily put them in the story… it’s just getting to that point that takes some time. Thanks for this new thesaurus!

  28. I’m so excited! All your thesaurus’ are helpful, and I’m excited about this one!

  29. Girl Friday says:

    Fantastic idea! This site just gets more and more helpful 🙂

  30. It sounds like a great new thesaurus! 🙂

  31. Paul Greci says:

    Sounds like a neat tool to help w/getting to know your characters. Thanks!

  32. Manon Eileen says:

    Wow, that’s great! And a true challenge I bet. Good luck!

  33. another great reason to stop by.

  34. This sounds like it’s going to be a fantastic resource! Really looking forward to it.

    Are you going to delve into the positive and negative aspects of a particular trait? E.g. someone who is unorganized is also likely to be spontaneous?

  35. Awesome! I’m excited for this new thesaurus!

  36. Woohoo! That’s my kind of thesaurus. ;D

  37. Videkov says:

    Thanks so much for the new addition you planned. It sounds fabulous. Your blog is my very favorite and I read/use it daily.

  38. Bluestocking says:

    Nothing to add but more excitement. Can’t wait!

  39. Karen Lange says:

    Sounds great! Can’t wait! 🙂

  40. Is it possible to love you guys more than I already do? Before today, I would have said no… today: YES! <3<3<3

    Yay, so exited for this!

  41. Can’t wait! Thanks Becca.

  42. EEV says:

    Loved the idea!

    P.S. Can someone explain me why I’m so obsessed with Pipin from LOTR? When someone asks me to think about a character, he pops up automatically. I love the little guy. 🙂 LOL
    – EEV

  43. Elouise82 says:

    This looks so exciting! Can’t wait to see what you come up with!

  44. OMG, so excited about this!! I love learning tools to add to my toolbox.

  45. Sounds awesome! Can’t wait. 🙂

  46. Andrea Mack says:

    This sounds like a really useful resource! I’m looking forward to your posts.

  47. I look forward to this new thesaurus!

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