Definition: being easily roused into a state of excitement
Characters in Literature: Gilderoy Lockhart (HP and the Chamber of Secrets), Fflewddur Fflam (The Black Cauldron), Tigger
Common Portrayals: children, sidekicks, crackpots
Clichés to Avoid: the yes man who jumps eagerly into any adventure the hero suggests; the excitable character motivated by curiosity and the thirst for knowledge; the lap-dog-type sidekick who fawns after the hero with no discernible thoughts of his own
Twists on the Traditional Excitable Character:
▪ Because these characters are often portrayed as mindless followers, give your excitable character a brain. Maybe he can see the foolishness or randomness of his actions, but he is compelled by some other reason to always leap without looking
▪ An excitable hero who doesn’t think for himself would make for an interesting journey and a story rife with trouble
▪ An excitable mentor would also create some serious conflict for the hero
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.
I am looking for a good read for my vacation next month – this is right up my alley! Thanks to my old Girl Scout camp buddy Jane, I must check it out! Thanks, Jane!
sue frost says
I would love to win your book, sounds very interesting….
Immaturity and boredom causing excitement. True that.
Just a small correction. “a highly intelligence person” should be “a highly intelligent person”
that must have been a typo!
Becca Puglisi says
Susanne Drazic says
Shared a link to this post on Twitter and Facebook.
Another great entry. Thanks, ladies!
Leslie, Lydia is an AWESOME example of an excitable character. Great addition!
And Victoria, the giveaway is up at Goodreads. Just click on the link to enter :).
Leslie S. Rose says
Lydia Bennett from Pride and Prejudice popped right into my mind as the poster girl for excitable.
Victoria Scott says
Oh, I so want to win the thesaurus. Let us know if you post the giveaway on GR. This could really help me!
Tigger is so perfectly excitable! Love it.
Also love that you use the word “chuffed”. 🙂
Traci Kenworth says
Excitable, excitable, Tigger is that!!
Matthew MacNish says
A nerdy, calculating type who was otherwise (emotionally) excitable would be an awesome twist. Thanks, Becca!
Oh, this is gonna be very helpful for something I’m writing now! Thank you!
Laura Pauling says
Tigger is the perfect picture for this! I love the pictures you guys pick out! 🙂