Definition: Marked by a lack of proper caution; careless of consequences
Characters in Literature: Alaska Young (Looking for Alaska), Mr. Toad (The Wind in the Willows)
Common Characteristics: boldness, fearlessness (whether real or perceived), impulsivity, lacking common sense, needing constant stimulation, exhibiting multiple self-destructive behaviors (drugs, alcohol, driving dangerously, unsafe sex, etc), lack of respect for authority, shooting off at the mouth, stubbornness
Clichés to Avoid: the tortured reckless character with a death wish; the reckless bully, always coercing and manipulating others to join in his behavior
Twists on the Traditional Reckless Character:
▪ Because reckless characters often have a negative past event that defines their behavior, how about making a character reckless for a different reason? The reckless character whose parents were crocodile wrestlers and raised her to be adventurous and fearless. Or a nerdy reckless character who wants to be like his treasure-hunting hero in his favorite comic.
▪ Mentors are wise and usually do right by their proteges. A reckless mentor would be a hoot, in my opinion.
This sample, along with the rest of the character trait entries, has been expanded into book form! Together, THE NEGATIVE TRAIT THESAURUS: A WRITER’S GUIDE TO CHARACTER FLAWS and THE POSITIVE TRAIT THESAURUS: A WRITER’S GUIDE TO CHARACTER ATTRIBUTES contain over 200 traits for you to choose from when creating unique, memorable 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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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, a portal to powerful, innovative tools to help writers elevate their storytelling.