Character Traits Entry: Thoughtful

Definition: given to the heedful anticipation of the needs and wants of others

Characters in Literature: Beth (Little Women), Sam (Lord of the Rings), Melanie (Gone with the Wind)

Common Characteristics: kind, helping others, offering to help when others won’t, seeing a need when others don’t know it’s there,  giving of their own resources to help others, worrying about people, anticipating the desires and needs of others, learning a new skill that will help them serve others (sewing, learning a language, etc.), volunteering for numerous ministry or service opportunities, giving monetarily to those in need

Clichés to Avoid: The unflawed thoughtful character, the shy thoughtful character who serves quietly in the background

Twists on the Traditional Thoughtful Character:

▪ Instead of a thoughtful character who is truly thinking of others, create one whose motives aren’t pure–one who serves others out of a desire to be recognized and thanked, or one with a tit-for-tat mentality who keeps track of his kind deeds

▪ These characters are usually portrayed as people to whom thoughtfulness comes naturally, when in reality, being unselfish requires work. Make your character real by showing her struggles to be selfless.

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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Angela is a writing coach, international speaker, and bestselling author who loves to travel, teach, empower writers, and pay-it-forward. She also is a founder of One Stop For Writers, an online library packed with powerful tools to help writers elevate their storytelling.
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11 Responses to Character Traits Entry: Thoughtful

  1. Pingback: Resources For Describing Characters | Stephanie Tillman

  2. very nice blog .very helpful

  3. BECKY says:

    Oooh, Melanie from Gone With the Wind…I really disliked her! Even when I was young, I thought she was way too much of a pushover!

  4. I agree, Jordan, that the names for the traits can often be ambiguous, meaning more than one thing or crossing into more than one area. That’s why we include the definition, to make the entry’s focus very clear–for the reader and for us, lol.

  5. Jeff King says:

    I love these… I use your advice often.

  6. This is great. I’m loving this new thesaurus!

    However, I wonder if there’s a better title for this character type. When I read “Thoughtful,” I thought of someone prone to introspection. (And was very confused to see Melanie below it.) Maybe “Selfless” or “Considerate”?

  7. describes me exactly, both good and bad. great entry as usual.

  8. Thank you for all the time you put in to provide us with these wonderful posts.

  9. Another great entry!!

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