Definition: a strong level of mental development or wisdom, often beyond one’s years
Characters in Literature: Hermione (Harry Potter); Katniss (Hunger Games); Hazel & Augustus (The Fault In Our Stars
Common Portrayals: Older siblings; youths facing survival situations; leaders bearing great responsibility
Clichés to Avoid: The brainy teacher’s pet; the haughty older sibling/neighbor/classmate who acts better than everyone around them; the joyless and dour adult or elder, weighed down by responsibility
Twists on the Traditional Mature Character:
- Maturity is a trait most main characters have to some degree, because it helps them face challenges ahead. Show us an immature character who must evolve in order to succeed.
- One large cause of maturity is growing up in an environment where maturity is the expectation. Show us a character who is mature despite an irresponsible or laid back upbringing. Be sure to show what made them that way.
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.