Definition: acting with fairness and equality; appearing to have unbiased judgment and neutrality in order to achieve an end.
Characters in Literature: Astrophil, Petra’s tin spider (Cabinet of Wonders); Alfred Pennyworth (Batman)
Common Portrayals: Government diplomats, parents, teachers and principals, professional advisers, counselors and psychiatrists; business consultants; a best friend; butlers, secretaries and loyal support staff
Clichés to Avoid: The diplomat who is power hungry and completely undiplomatic; the ‘third wheel’ friend who becomes a trusted confidant to his or her bestie’s romantic partner, all the while harboring a secret crush for them
Twists on the Traditional Diplomatic Character:
▪ Diplomacy is easier if one does not have personal stakes in the possible outcome. Show us a character who is invested in what happens, and the moral tug-o-war that goes with attempting to not influence decisions based on one’s own emotions.
▪ Diplomacy is often trying to satisfy all involved parties with a decision that provides a best case scenario outcome across the board. What happens when there is no best case…all options are equally painful or terrible to fathom?
▪ Put the fate of a diplomatic character in the hands of a rash, emotional opposite. How do they cope without that sense of fairness and careful consideration? How do they find a way to influence, reason with or work around this type of opposite?
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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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.