Definition: having unusual foresight and ingenuity
Characters from Literature and History: Dr. Frankenstein, Merlin, Benjamin Franklin, Leonardo da Vinci
Common Portrayals: scientists, inventors, magicians, geniuses, world leaders, artists
Clichés to Avoid: the egomaniacal crazy visionary bent on taking over the world; the eccentric but lovable magician or scientist; the passionate inventor who creates something that changes the world but sacrifices his family and values to do so
Twists on the Traditional Visionary:
- Visionaries usually envision something that is beneficial or helpful. But what if their goal is ambiguous–good for some, detrimental to others?
- We like to remember the “good” visionaries, but many horrible ideas and events were also birthed by those with incredible foresight and boldness. Instead of the purely evil visionary who sees nothing wrong with his pursuit, conflict your villain. Show him struggling with right and wrong just like the good guys do.
- Complicate things for your solitary visionary. Out of necessity, give him a partner.
Build a worthy protagonist with a mix of unique strengths that will help him overcome obstacles and achieve meaningful goals.
This sample, along with the rest of the character trait entries, has been expanded into book form. Together, the bestselling NEGATIVE TRAIT THESAURUS: A WRITER’S GUIDE TO CHARACTER FLAWS and POSITIVE TRAIT THESAURUS: A WRITER’S GUIDE TO CHARACTER ATTRIBUTES contain over 200 traits for you to choose from when creating memorable, compelling 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.