Definition: marked by unaffected simplicity; lacking in worldly wisdom
Characters in Literature: King Arthur, Wilbur (Charlotte’s Web), Forrest Gump, Primrose Everdeen (The Hunger Games)
Common Portrayals: children, the mentally challenged, the elderly, recent graduates, the uneducated, Christians and other religious people
Clichés to Avoid: the naïve character who falls in with the wrong crowd and becomes jaded by the story’s end, the poor widow being financially ruined due to her naivety, the naive graduate who learns the ways of the world and ends up a savvy, ruthless businessman
Twists on the Traditional Naïve Character:
- In literature, naïve characters are always cured of of their naivety by the story’s end. What about a naïve character who is able to resolve her conflict while maintaining her innocence and purity?
- Naïve characters are often cast in the supporting role, with a main character who looks out for them. Instead, make the naïve character the one who must be responsible for someone else.
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.