Definition: Unyielding; resolute
Characters in Literature:Nynaeve, (The Wheel of Time); Verruca Salt (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory); Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games)
Common Portrayals: The resolute boss; a stubborn toddler; military leadership; lawyers
Clichés to Avoid: The military general hell-bent on winning no matter what the cost; spoiled brat kids; villains who are stubborn to a fault and as a result, it is their downfall (that’s the easy way out, IMO.)
Twists on the Traditional Stubborn Characters:
- Stubbornness is almost always a positive for a protagonist, helping them to have the drive to succeed. Show us a situation where stubbornness due to a strong sense of right and wrong causes him or those around him great hardship.
- Protags and Antags need to have a certain amount of stubbornness but the root of an antag’s stubborn trait is almost always pride. So….show us a villain who’s stubbornness comes from moral or noble roots instead!
- Flip a cliché. Write a story where the stubborn ‘spoiled brat’ actually uses her stubbornness for good. Or the stubborn military leader who really does need to win, whatever the cost.
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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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.