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.