Definition: free from agitation or disturbance; composed; level-headed
Characters in Literature: Legolas, Spock, Nick Andros (The Stand), Yoda
Common Portrayals: parents and grandparents, religious figures, mentors, immortals
Clichés to Avoid: the wise mentor who shows no emotion, no matter how desperate the scenario; the martyr who calmly and serenely faces his own death; the calm character who never makes a mistake
Twists on the Traditional Calm Character:
Emotionally, your character might be even-keeled, but he can be weak in other areas. Give him an achilles heel or crazy quirk to make him more interesting.
Because calm character are somewhat boring, they aren’t usually cast as heroes. But what if calmness is a fault that has to be overcome? What if the calm demeanor is a deep-seated survival technique that must be broken down so the hero can experience real emotion?
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.