Definition: believing in or pursuing what is morally right or good
Characters in Literature & Pop Culture: Robin Hood, Dumbledore, Reverend Mr. John Williams (The Scarlet Letter)
Clichés to Avoid: the self-righteous, hypocritical priest or pastor; the just character who bravely stands alone in his quest to right a wrong
Twists on the Traditional Just Character:
▪ Just characters are usually bold and confrontational. How about a meek or wallflower-type person who is compelled to stand up for what’s right?
▪ People with a strong sense of right and wrong are often firmly convinced of their own rightness. It would be refreshing to see a just character who takes a stand on something, but struggles with his own convictions on the subject.
▪ The self-righteous just character has been done to death. There are so many other faults and flaws that can realistically be applied. Break the cliché and come up with a new pairing of strength with weakness.
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.
Jack Dowden says
Man, I love this stuff. Thank you.
Kate O'Reilley says
Great post. I like the idea of thinking outside the box. You raised some very helpful points and I thank you.
Traci Kenworth says
Tracy Campbell says
Ooo! I love this post. My main character is a “just” person, and you gave me a brilliant idea, turn her into “a meek or wallflower-type person who is compelled to stand up for what’s right?” She was standing up for what’s right, but not in the “right” way. Now she will. Love it!
Becca Puglisi says
Ack! Javert is PERFECT!
Janet has added a great character to your list. I love it when characters who are interested in justice are also flawed and perhaps a bit unjust themselves. Kind of like they’re real people, right?
Thanks for the post on characters.
Janet Johnson says
Great entry! Another character in pop culture is Javert from Les Miserables. 🙂