Character Trait: Creative

Definition: marked with the desire or skill to create

Characters in Literature: Olivia (the pig), Amy March (Little Women), Skeeter Phelan (The Help), Joe (The Sky is Everywhere)

Common Portrayals: artists, authors and poets, actors, dancers, musicians, chefs, interior designers, fashion designers, entrepreneurs, child prodigies

Clichés to Avoid: the tormented artist; the hermit author; the frustrated, alcoholic or drug-addicted creative; the brilliant but socially awkward creative; the penniless, desperate actor

Twists on the Traditional Creative:

▪ Creatives are almost always driven by the passion to create. What about the reluctant creator? Someone who doesn’t necessarily want to do it for some reason, but they need to?

▪ Personally, I think the artist/author/musician creative has been overdone. I’d like to see more stories about highly creative characters in other fields: architecture, automotive manufacturing, city planning

▪ In the real world, successful CEOs are also creators, but their product is less tactile and “beautiful” than in the traditional creative arts. And all we hear about them is their financial prowess. Why not focus on their creative process instead?

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.

Love working online and having your favorite description resources in one place? We’ve got you covered. The entries from the Positive Trait Thesaurus book have been integrated into our online library at One Stop For Writers. Now you can search and cross-reference between all our thesaurus collections quickly and easily. Interested in viewing a free sample? Register at One Stop and see all that this intuitive library for writers has to offer.

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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, an online library packed with powerful tools to help writers elevate their storytelling.
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online diploma
8 years ago

I really appreciated the post. It proved to be Very useful to me

Amy Croall
8 years ago

I absolutely agree. I can be a tad out of touch with reality, which can really drive a wedge between my husband and I.

I’m recently published with an indie house (historical romance), and all my energies are going into promotion. But, at the same time, I’m starting a Young Adult series. I find that it’s all I can talk about whenever I interact with someone!

Amy Croall
Author of “A Cure for the Condition”
Impossible Love with Real Characters

Becca Puglisi
8 years ago

Luckily, there aren’t many words to remember 😉

Stephen Tremp
8 years ago

My kids used to love Olivia. Sketch comedy for cartoon pigs. Now I have the theme song stuck in my head.

Leslie S. Rose
8 years ago

I am loving the character Adam in Tempest right now as a creative soul. He’s a science nerd, but his ideas and theories are wildly creative. Perfecto post as usual.

Shelley Munro
8 years ago

I really liked this post. My current WIP has a heroine who works in design and advertising. This post is food for thought.

Leigh Covington
8 years ago

Yep! I’m officially in love with this blog! 🙂

Carrie Butler
8 years ago

I always love the twists! 🙂

Jeff King
8 years ago


Becca Puglisi
8 years ago

Oooh, Michelle, I like that!

And Rosalind, I think it COULD be creative; they all don’t have to be laid out identically. This illustrates my point, that there are so many potential fields where creativity could thrive, but I tend to see the same ones represented in novels. It would be nice to see something new :).

8 years ago

Out of touch with reality, I love that. Totally using that! Thanks!

Michelle Gregory
8 years ago

i can be a reluctant creative.

so what about the creative blacksmith who wants to make things that are not just functional but beautiful? i have one of those in my novel. and you can see something he might have created at my blog today. 🙂

Rosalind Adam
8 years ago

I love your twists of the traditional view of creatives… but City planning! Is that creative?!

Traci Kenworth
8 years ago

I’m one of these, of course, lol. You’re right though, a person can be creative in any field and we should look to extend that perspective in our characters. Oh, the ideas that come to mind!!