Introducing...the Character Traits Thesaurus

Quick, name your favorite character.

Now list a trait or two that defines him/her.

Chances are, you were able to come up with a defining trait fairly quickly. That’s because likable characters are memorable. They exhibit qualities that we admire or can relate to. Creating memorable characters is key to creating memorable stories. To test this theory, ask yourself if your character’s story is on your list of favorite books.

Like any important job, character creation isn’t easy. You have to consider what traits to give your hero to make it possible (or seemingly impossible) for her to achieve her goals. She’ll also need characteristics that readers will relate to or empathize with. Having a flaw to overcome is always nice, too. And you don’t want to recreate any existing characters, so you’ll need to combine her qualities in a way that has never been done before.

It’s a tough job, but we all have to do it. Here’s hoping that our new CHARACTER TRAITS THESAURUS will help.

The goal of this resource is to examine many existing character traits through the lens of character creation. What might have caused this trait to surface in my character? What are the positives and negatives of this quality? How might I pair it with other characteristics to create someone truly original and interesting?

Our hope is that these entries will shed new light on existing traits, enabling you to create some new favorite characters. All entries for this thesaurus can be found in our SIDEBAR...enjoy!

47 comments:

Jessica Subject said...

I look forward to this new thesaurus!

Andrea Mack said...

This sounds like a really useful resource! I'm looking forward to your posts.

Laura Pauling said...

Sounds awesome! Can't wait. :)

tracikenworth said...

OMG, so excited about this!! I love learning tools to add to my toolbox.

Elouise82 said...

This looks so exciting! Can't wait to see what you come up with!

EEV said...

Loved the idea!

P.S. Can someone explain me why I'm so obsessed with Pipin from LOTR? When someone asks me to think about a character, he pops up automatically. I love the little guy. :) LOL
- EEV

Matthew MacNish said...

Can't wait! Thanks Becca.

Marisa Hopkins said...

Is it possible to love you guys more than I already do? Before today, I would have said no... today: YES! <3<3<3

Yay, so exited for this!

Karen Lange said...

Sounds great! Can't wait! :)

Bluestocking said...

Nothing to add but more excitement. Can't wait!

Videkov said...

Thanks so much for the new addition you planned. It sounds fabulous. Your blog is my very favorite and I read/use it daily.

Lisa Gail Green said...

Woohoo! That's my kind of thesaurus. ;D

Kayeleen Hamblin said...

Awesome! I'm excited for this new thesaurus!

valleyofthemuse said...

This sounds like it's going to be a fantastic resource! Really looking forward to it.

Are you going to delve into the positive and negative aspects of a particular trait? E.g. someone who is unorganized is also likely to be spontaneous?

Michelle Gregory said...

another great reason to stop by.

Manon Eileen said...

Wow, that's great! And a true challenge I bet. Good luck!

Paul Greci said...

Sounds like a neat tool to help w/getting to know your characters. Thanks!

The Golden Eagle said...

It sounds like a great new thesaurus! :)

Girl Friday said...

Fantastic idea! This site just gets more and more helpful :)

Teralyn Rose Pilgrim said...

I'm so excited! All your thesaurus' are helpful, and I'm excited about this one!

Nancy Kelley said...

You are my hero. Character creation is really the bane of my existence. Once they're formed in my mind, I can easily put them in the story... it's just getting to that point that takes some time. Thanks for this new thesaurus!

Piper Bayard said...

Ooo. I love it! Can't wait to see what you come up with.

Caledonia Lass said...

Oi, I listed a dozen characters in my writing and their traits in the space of a few seconds.... I love all my characters and LOVE creating them. XD
This sounds like an awesome thesaurus to have on hand and I am glad I am following you now. :D

SP Sipal said...

This will be a great resource! I can think of another thesaurus like this that I'd love to have, but might require more than one or two words -- action tags. I way overuse some, like "he shrugged," "she grinned," etc, and am constantly struggling to come up with a new way of phrasing things but also keeping it simple.

Holly Ruggiero said...

Awesome new thesaurus!

Angela Ackerman said...

Thanks everyone. We are totally jazzed about this new thesaurus and hope it really helps you think about traits in a new way!

@EEV I love Pippin. And Merry. They are both such awesome characters, so they inspire us to create new versions of them!

@Valley, yes there is a positive and negative aspect--you'll have to have a look and tell us what you think of it.

@SP, at some point, I could see us creating a list in a single post, but of course these tags should always be used in moderation anyway. If you're looking for something close to beat tags that is also emotional showing, look up our emotion thesaurus entries in the sidebar.

Angela

alaw said...

Can't wait to see it! By the way, this is a great blog...I know it's going to help me with my writing a LOT!

alaw said...

Can't wait to see it! By the way, this is a great blog...I know it's going to help me with my writing a LOT!

Sharon Jones said...

If you ladies stop by my blog, you can pick up your *Award*

Thanks for a great blog!

Sharon :)

beck nicholas said...

ANOTHER reason to love this blog. Thank you!!

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

This will be another great addition to your sidebar...

Clarissa Draper said...

Can't wait until it comes out!

Deb Marshall said...

Oh my wow and SUweeet! That is all:)

Kelly Hashway said...

Sounds great!

Susanne Drazic said...

AWESOME!

Cynthia Chapman Willis said...

Yea! This sounds amazing! Can't wait to read more! Many thanks, as always.

Lydia K said...

What a great idea! Your Thesauruses (thesauri?) are awesome.

Thanks for your supportive comment on my post. The best pro-conference therapy ever!

Christina Lee said...

OH you are GOOD! Fantastic idea!

Owllady said...

This is such a great idea, I've added your button to my blog. :D

Bailor said...

OH, I am so excited to see what you guys come up with. C: your blog is so helpful.

Anonymous said...

This has gotta be the best thesuarus yet. I'm always up all night trying to spice up the characters.

Jeigh said...

You guys are so awesome! Can't wait to see this new thesaurus!

Mum of Monsters said...

I love this blog.

also

I just wanted to let you know I've given you the Versatile Blogger Award! Check it out here:

http://monsterroundup.blogspot.com/2011/05/versatile-blogger-award.html

Morgan Lee said...

Can't wait! You guys so rock! Your blog is any writers dream.

Melody Jackson said...

This is perfect! I've been looking for a good resource for character traits! :) Thanks so much for this wonderful tool!

Annette said...

I just bought the Emotion Thesaurus and look forward to adding the Character Traits to my writers toolbox. Thanks

Jackie said...

Congrats! I'm so excited for you, and excited for us.

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