Definition: injured, hurt, or suffering from a wound (physical, mental, or emotional)
Characters in Literature and Pop Culture: Melinda (Speak), Severus Snape, Dally (The Outsiders), Will Hunting (Good Will Hunting)
Common Portrayals: psychopaths and sociopaths, serial killers, criminals, gang bangers, bullies, the homeless, villains, victims of violent crimes, suicides
Clichés to Avoid: the Wounded who struggles to change but ends up taking his or her own life to escape the pain, the tough-on-the-outside-soft-on-the-inside Wounded, the hooker with the heart of gold
Twists on the Traditional Wounded Character:
- More often than not, a character’s wounds are inflicted by others. What about a person becoming who they are solely through their own actions, whether accidental or intentional?
- Instead of the angry, vengeful walking wounded, how about one who is hopeful and optimistic? Make the results of their wounds somehow attractive, instead of repulsive to others. This could lead to a slew of new conflicts between your hero and the people around him.
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.