Definition: fearlessness in the face of adversity or danger
Characters in Literature: Batman; Captain America; Lan Mandragoran & Galad Damordred (The Wheel of Time); Nevile Longbottom (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows); Rambo
Common Portrayals: Soldiers, Policemen, Firemen, Superheroes, Warriors, Hunters
Cliches to Avoid: the hero who is so brave he is blind to the corruption of the people he works for; the brave hero with a secret death wish; the superhero whose resulting fame causes egotism & the eventual ‘fall from grace/comeuppance’ as a result
Twists on the Traditional Brave:
We see a lot of ‘brave’ but not ‘smart’ characters. Give us a character who is both!
Bravery is acting without fear, courage is acting despite fear. Think of the saying, ‘to fear is to live’. A complex twist on a brave character would be to have them feel something is missing because they do not feel fear.
Bravery does not have to equate into a character who is big and strong or physically fit. Show us a character who is naturally brave, but his body is compromised, yet rather than have to ‘prove himself’, he naturally has respect of the people around him.
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.