Definition: marked by economy and good management
Characters in Literature: Marilla Cuthbert (Anne of Green Gables), Dicey Tillerman (Homecoming), Mrs. Weasley
Common Portrayals: the elderly, accountants, bankers, single parents
Clichés to Avoid: the elderly woman with no bank account but thousands of dollars stuffed in mattresses and cookie jars around her house; the crotchety gajillionnaire who has scads of money but no joy and no one to share life with; the single mom that counts every penny and goes without so her children can have what they want (while this is a real and admirable character in the real world, it’s has been done a lot in fiction; utilize with care)
Twists on the Traditional Thrifty Character:
- Thriftiness is a usually a characteristic that goes back to a person’s childhood or a specific event/time period. What about a wasteful person who must become thrifty in order to accomplish a certain goal?
- Thrifty characters are so often portrayed as stingy. Twist the cliché by making your Thrifty generous and unselfish.
- Make things difficult for your character by surrounding him with extravagant characters.
- Make thriftiness a negative trait in society–something your character has to overcome, rather than something to strive for.
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.