Definition: marked by a desire to investigate and learn
Characters in Literature: Alice (in Wonderland), Curious George, Harriet (the Spy)
Common Portrayals: scientists, inventors, children
Clichés to Avoid: the feeble minded but good hearted bumbler who finds everything interesting; the child who repeatedly asks “why?”, the eccentric scientist
Twists on the Traditional Curious Character:
▪ Curiosity is usually displayed as a childish characteristic. What about a competent adult with a childlike curiosity about the world or a particular topic?
▪ Curious characters are usually somewhat awkward or socially backward and so are often cast as secondary characters. How about a curious hero? Or a curious villain who’s motivated by his need to know?
▪ Those who are curious usually love to share their knowledge with others. Why not create a curious character who is secretive and selfish with his findings–maybe one who’s curiosity is a means to a conniving end?
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.