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Easy Way to Add Character Traits

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000046_00068]

How do you create well-rounded characters? Here’s a tip for making it easy. Halfway through my WIP (Work in Progress), I realized that Jessie, the twenty-something fleeing domestic violence, didn’t any flaws. I had to find some quick, and that’s how I discovered a fantastic tool for writers.

If you check out the TOC of the Negative Trait Thesaurus, you’ll see there’s a long list of traits your characters might have. I went down the list thinking “Nope. Nope. Yes. Maybe. No,” until I had a half dozen possible traits Jessie might possess. I also noted the page numbers where the individual traits were explained / expanded upon.

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Table of Contents for The Negative Trait Thesaurus

Then I went to the chapter that more fully described each trait, reading about them in detail. For example, here are the two pages relative to the trait “Flaky.” (Sorry they aren’t clearer. I couldn’t reproduce the pages very well here, but that’s no reflection on the book, which is very nicely done.)

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I thought of Jessie being naive but gifted, so some of the “Possible Causes” fit right in with her personality.

Fiction, characters, character development, writing fiction

More interesting information about a flaky person.

I decided flaky wasn’t exactly right for Jessie, but did select gullible, know-it-all, and melodramatic (hey, she’s 24). Now Jessie is a more well-rounded, if flawed character, and I didn’t have to spend all day trying to think of different characteristics. Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi did it for me.

They also published a couple of sister books, The Positive Trait Thesaurus, and The Emotion Thesaurus. I bought all three, because I’ll welcome any help I can get, and I recommend them to any writer who wants to get something done in this lifetime. (This post was shared by Lynne Spreen.)

1 Comment

  1. […] What is the big mistake you keep making with your life?  (Authors who draw a blank might reread this post on negative character traits.) […]


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