Definition: Characterized by extreme uneasiness of mind or brooding fear
Characters in Literature: Piglet, Mrs. Weasley, Bard of Dale (The Hobbit)
Common Portrayals: overprotective maternal figures, hypochondriacs, conspiracy theorists, chaperones and nurses (historical fiction)
Clichés to Avoid: the doting, stifling nanny or mother; sniffling, hand-wringing worriers
Twists on the Traditional Worry Wart:
- Worriers are so often weak and timid. The worrying warrior or leader could make for an interesting character.
- Because worrying is a negative character trait, it’s usually assigned to background or support characters. A worry-wart hero would be one with a lot to overcome.
- Turn worry into a positive by creating a character who worries excessively about others, but is utterly unconcerned with him or herself.
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.