Definition: not generous; sparing or scant in using, giving, or spending
Characters in Literature and Culture: Ebenezer Scrooge, the Grinch, Mr. Burns (the Simpsons)
Common Portrayals: business owners, factory foremen, the elderly, bankers, feudal landowners, eccentrics
Clichés to Avoid: the crackpot miser with money stuffed in his mattress and buried in the backyard, the skinflint boss who fleeces his employees, the gajillionaire who lives in squalor because he won’t spend even a nickel on basic necessities
Twists on the Traditional Stingy Character:
▪ People are usually stingy due to basic greed. Instead, give your stingy character an empathetic reason to be the way he is.
▪ Stinginess is a negative, no doubt about it. What circumstances could you create in your world that would make stinginess a positive trait?
▪ Because it’s such a bad trait, a stingy hero will usually be cured of it by the end of a novel. But what if being stingy is necessary to achieving the hero’s goal? What if he has to hold onto it in order to succeed, or better yet, to save others?
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.