Jun 04 2008

A List of Character Traits

Published by at 11:00 am under Character Development,Writing Articles

This list of words used to define and describe people will help you design characters for novels and other stories.

Mental Characteristics and Mindsets

Generally positive mindsets

  • blase
  • careful
  • carefree
  • cautious
  • confident
  • creative
  • curious
  • dutiful
  • enlightened
  • exuberant
  • idealistic
  • intelligent
  • light-hearted
  • logical
  • methodical
  • savvy
  • sophisticated
  • spiritual
  • steady
  • serious
  • whimsical

Mental flaws

  • clueless
  • delusional
  • discontented
  • dissatisfied
  • foolhardy
  • flitty
  • harried
  • milquetoast
  • paranoid
  • pie-in-the-sky (over-idealistic)
  • reckless
  • self-assured
  • sheltered
  • smug
  • stubborn
  • unquestioning (unduly obedient)
  • unstable


Sympathetic traits

  • conscientious
  • dutiful
  • faithful
  • honest
  • idealistic
  • innocent
  • just
  • law-abiding
  • prim
  • proper
  • rebellious
  • upright

Negative characteristics (flaws)

  • shaken
  • criminal
  • uptight
  • treasonous
  • puritanical
  • hypocritical
  • self-appointed
  • self-centered


Sympathetic traits

  • adventurous
  • dedicated
  • driven
  • energetic
  • exuberant
  • intrepid
  • rugged

Character flaws

  • flitty
  • bored
  • disinterested
  • crippled
  • languid
  • lethargic
  • sedate


  • charming
  • frank
  • elegant
  • generous
  • haughty
  • helpful
  • humble
  • immature
  • modest
  • pushover
  • reserved
  • sensitive


Positive levels of normality

  • conventional
  • familiar
  • one-of-a-kind
  • usual
  • zany

Character flaws

  • alien
  • bizarre
  • conformist
  • eccentric
  • maladjusted
  • weird

Secondary Positive Characteristics

  • good-humored
  • gregarious
  • eloquent
  • calm
  • analytical
  • athletic

Negative Characteristics

  • superstitious
  • combative
  • needy
  • unfriendly
  • aggressive
  • clueless
  • old-fashioned
  • strict
  • anti-social
  • naïve
  • insecure
  • spiteful
  • disorganized
  • untactful
  • pushy
  • ignorant
  • dumb
  • selfish
  • passive
  • jealous
  • arrogant
  • smirky
  • weird
  • unprincipled
  • saucy
  • dangerous
  • rude
  • sickly
  • coarse
  • bad sense of humor
  • hard
  • deceitful
  • impulsive
  • critical
  • moody
  • pensive
  • nervous
  • pampered


180 responses so far

180 Responses to “A List of Character Traits”

  1. Craig Monroeon 02 Oct 2008 at 12:29 pm

    For a long time I wanted to create my own superhero, but I had any idea of where to start. The list above really helped me to pick out some things I want in my character and they also reflect who I am. Hopefully it’ll help. Great site, I’m lovin’ it.

  2. B. Macon 02 Oct 2008 at 5:21 pm

    Good luck!

  3. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 11 Nov 2008 at 8:40 pm

    This is a list of things about Isaac:

    Positive traits:

    Protective of his foster sister, (see negative traits also)

    Has a set of morals which he adheres to unless it’s absolutely necessary to ignore them (eg, he would never hit a girl unless she had a gun to someone’s head and was going to pull the trigger)

    Pretty resilient and a quick thinker (see negative traits)

    Is able to sort his own injuries out, even ignoring his fear of needles to give himself stitches.

    Wishes to be a “good investment” for his foster parents, because he’s grateful that they took him in. (See negative traits)

    Good at investigating things and sneaking around

    Negative traits:

    Somewhat clumsy, falls over often and gets bruises on forehead from walking into things.

    Huge fear of clowns (bad birthday experience), needles, puppets (especially wooden ones with strings, due to a rack of them falling on him at a toy shop when he was six), gnomes (he thinks they have evil eyes), Christmas elves (he saw a horror movie about them when he was seven), almonds (because of allergies).

    He can be very judgmental of his foster sister

    If someone hurts his foster sister, he’ll lose his mind and go psycho at whoever did it.

    Sometimes gets irritated at people who don’t have similar morals.

    He freaks out if he thinks someone is about to discover his true identity.

    Due to quick thinking, he sometimes overlooks big details.

    Gets stressed due to trying to be “Son of the Year” by getting straight A’s, working hard at his job, saving lives and other things.

    Sometimes he is overly suspicious.

    Sometimes insults his own appearance/personality, by saying “too tall”, “eyes too blue”, “I laugh like a hyena” etc

    Your thoughts?

  4. Bretton 11 Nov 2008 at 8:51 pm

    Just a couple things.

    This trait: “Good at investigating things and sneaking around”

    seems inconsistent with this trait: “Somewhat clumsy, falls over often and gets bruises on forehead from walking into things.”

    The only people I’ve seen pull of stealth and clumsy at the same time were the Kids Next Door, and I don’t think that’s what you’re going for.

    Also: “Your thoughts?”
    That is MY phrase! jk. : )

  5. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 11 Nov 2008 at 8:56 pm

    Yeah I guess so, but it’s mostly when he’s trying to sneak that he’s good at it. When he’s not paying attention, he trips up and hurts himself. He doesn’t pay full attention all the time, so he often gets injured. Like me! I can sneak around if I want, really well actually, but I’m always falling over. I’m like a cross of a ninja and Gerald Ford. Haha.

  6. Bretton 11 Nov 2008 at 9:05 pm


  7. B. Macon 11 Nov 2008 at 9:25 pm

    I love the Gerald Ford reference. He was maligned as a klutz (he once slipped down the stairs off of Air Force One in the rain), but he was also the star of Michigan’s football team. I think that’s a great example of someone who is both a ninja and a klutz. (Well, to the extent that a single fall proves that someone is klutzy… work with me here).

    As for your character, I think that some of the stuff you have is really good. I’ve taken the liberty of twisting some of your traits and notes into personality traits that are more general.

    For example, I’d take “good at investigating things and sneaking around” and twist it into a personality trait, curious (or inquisitive if you prefer).

    I’d take his many phobias and spin them into fearful or delicate. His suspicion and disregard for people of different morals seems to fit into this as well.

    I think there’s a discrepancy between his resilience on one hand and his many fears and his tendency to freak out when someone threatens his sister or his secret identity on the other. This character doesn’t strike me as very resilient, but rather as delicate and perhaps even fragile.

    He seems insecure. That seems to tie into his self-criticism (his eyes are too blue, he says) and maybe also that he feels the need to be the “Son of the Year.”

    You have a lot of traits here, so if I were trying to narrow this list to a few defining characteristics (so that readers can remember them more easily), I’d go with…
    1. Curious/inquisitive
    2. Just (he’s attached to his sister, wants to thank his parents by acting how he thinks a good son should)
    3. Fearful
    4. Delicate

    He has a few other capabilities (or lacks other capabilities), like his klutziness and his ability to sneak around, but I think that a defining trait is usually tied to the personality rather than capabilities.

  8. Ragged Boyon 11 Nov 2008 at 9:44 pm

    You guys make the weirdest reference. But they’re funny so it’s good

    Isaac sort of sounds like me, alot of fears, sensitive, and could care less about the emotions of others.

    I actually think I’d make a good character in a story. Being a natural character.

  9. B. Macon 11 Nov 2008 at 10:45 pm

    Well, I’m a huge fan of politics and football, and Gerald Ford is one of the only individuals to play prominently in both spheres. Courtesy of a surprise appearance on Monday Night Football, Obama is the other.

  10. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 11 Nov 2008 at 11:53 pm

    My main fear is clowns. Graah, freaky jerks. I was surprised that I was able to sit through the Dark Knight without screaming every time the Joker got screen time.

  11. Ragged Boyon 12 Nov 2008 at 6:06 pm

    I’m a little off-set by clowns as well. Twisted Metal used Sweettooth, a psychotic serial killer. THat whole game is scary as hell, but it’s really good and well-made. I’d recommend it if you like creepy stuff. Let me list some characters.

    Bloody Mary is a love-crazy maniac that kills her best friend on her wedding day because she was jealous.

    Dollface is an innocent girl that was locked in a doll mask for seven years because of a simple mistake.

    Calypso runs the Twisted Metal contest and offers each inmate one wish if they win. Creepy as hell.

    No Face looks like a voodoo doll. He’s a boxer whose face was horribly mutilated by a doctor that lost $20,000 over a match. He’s my favorite.

    Preacher is a psycho evangelist who thinks he is possessed and does a bunch of crazy rituals to try and redeem his christianity, like drawing a cross with his blood on a wall and then nailing himself to it. Good story, too bad it’s a hallucination.

    Billy Ray Stillwell is a mutated freak who seeks revenge on a pilot for stealing his wife and making him the way he is.

    Mr. Grimm is an ex-Vietnam soldier who went insane when he was forced to eat his dead comrade. He is now a cannibal and wears the skull of the friend he ate.

    They all pretty much go on to be killers. They all get sent to Blackfield Asylum, where the game begins.

  12. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 12 Nov 2008 at 8:58 pm

    My fear was set off at a festival when a clown almost fell on me after tripping over. All I saw for about half a second was his painted face. Reeurgh. I hate human statues, too.

  13. B. Macon 12 Nov 2008 at 9:28 pm

    Hot Fuzz used a human statue hilariously. Actually, pretty much everything about that movie was hilarious, but I liked the human statue especially.

  14. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 12 Nov 2008 at 9:57 pm

    Oh, I LOVE that movie!

    “I wanted to be like Uncle Derek.”

    “Sounds like a good bloke.”

    “Actually, he was caught selling drugs to students.”

    “What a ^&%$.”

    The gunfight in the middle of the village was good too, with the woman on the bicycle and her handguns. I loved it how Danny opened the door of the car and she rode right into it.

    “Your dad is the judge, jury and executioner.”

    “No! He’s not Judge Judy executioner!” Haha, everyone knows Judge Judy.

    I liked Shaun of the Dead, too, but not as much.

  15. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 12 Nov 2008 at 9:58 pm

    I think it’s Dead Rising where there’s a freaky clowns who falls on his two chainsaws and laughs as he dies. Freaky ar*ehole.

  16. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 14 Nov 2008 at 8:36 pm

    Aida (Owlie):

    –She looks after Requiem when he gets upset, and treats him like a brother.
    –She sits up straight, napkin in lap, doesn’t put her elbows on the table, etc.
    –She’s dedicated to the team’s aim.

    –She shows favouritism to Requiem, so isn’t always fair to the other members of FIGHT.
    –She’s smug (“I told you so.” “I knew this would happen!” “I’m right, you’re wrong, deal with it.”)
    –She’s always serious and never lets herself have fun. Tristram (the strong and silent inventor) has a similar mindset. They are almost dating.

    Tristram (Paladin):
    –He’s willing to learn about himself.
    –He’s protective of the team.
    –He can hack into a basic computer in minutes, takes up to an hour to get into a network.
    –He has an individual style.

    –He hates when it people interrupt him when he’s working on a project.
    –He picks fights with Isaac.
    –He’s hard to read. It’s impossible to tell whether he’s joking or not.
    –He tends to punch people that annoy him.

    Requiem (Rebirth):
    –He can tell when someone’s going to die.
    –He’s good at reading the emotional atmosphere of an area.
    –He can fight reasonably well.

    –Seeing a ghost sometimes upsets him.
    –He complains about training when he wants to look around the city.
    –He argues his bedtime and hates eating anything but junk food.

    “I’ve lived like a thousand times! I think I deserve better than 8:30!” cried Requiem, stood in the doorway of the boys’ dorm.

    “No Req, go to bed,” said Aida, waving her hand at him.

    “No, not bed! I hate bed! Never!”


    “Humph. I’m not talking to you!” he said, folding his arms.

    “Well, at least I don’t have to listen to your whining!” she shot back. I looked between the two of them and shrugged. They were acting like children. Even though Requiem WAS a child, but he didn’t need to act so immature about it. It wasn’t like his bed was going to eat him. (This is told from Isaac’s POV)

    What do you think?

  17. B. Macon 15 Nov 2008 at 8:21 pm

    I haven’t forgotten about this, but I’m still thinking about it. I have a few preliminary comments.

    I’d spin a few of Aida’s characteristics into personality traits. On the positive side, for example, I’d cast her relationship with Requiem as part of a more general compassionate streak. Sitting up straight with her napkin in her lap seem like symptoms of being prim. On the negative side, I’d cast her soft spot for Requiem as part of a coddling/enabling trend, maybe. Smug and over-serious are strong, I think.

    Aida generally sounds pretty solid. There may be issues about whether her personality is too similar to Paladin’s, but her relationship with Req might be sufficient to differentiate them. I think that it may help to make sure she’s not too smug. “I told you so” and “I knew this would happen” feel effective to me: they give her flavor and a personality without unduly compromising her likability. “I’m right, you’re wrong, deal with it” seems a bit too obnoxious, though.

    Paladin (an protective, uptight leader) seems slightly cliche. I like the quirk about his jokes being hard to read, but the character sounds maybe too much like Cyclops or Leonardo from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (particularly if his conflict with Isaac resembles the ongoing Leo-Raphael or Cyclops-Wolverine feuds). As for him being willing to learn about himself, that could be interesting but I’m not completely sure what it means. Could you give an example?

    Aida and Tristam have several defining characteristics that I predict will have decent dramatic potential. Requiem has several capabilities but could probably use a more fleshed-out personality. The best I could glean was “immature” and “emotionally sensitive.” Sensitivity has some potential, but I think that focusing on immaturity will probably make the character annoyingly cute, particularly depending on the target age/gender of your audience. (I suspect that young male readers will not respond as well to him, particularly if they think the character is whiny).

    I’d recommend giving him another trait or two. For example, he might be overenthusiastic/brave because he hasn’t yet been tempered by experience. (It’s a dangerous world and the enemies could kill them; also, someone that’s already lived hundreds of lives might not take death as a serious threat). You could easily tie that cavalier attitude towards death into his willingness to eat junk food and blow off training; after all, the worst case scenario is death, which is only a minor inconvenience to him.

    Alternately, he might think that getting haunted by ghosts and memories of past lives is really obnoxious. If that were the case, he might be relatively bitter about his superpowers, which is pretty fresh for a child-character.

    Finally, readers may also stumble over the idea that someone who complains (whines?) about his bed-time is a reasonably competent fighter.

    What do you think?

  18. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 15 Nov 2008 at 10:19 pm

    Okay, thanks! With Tristram and Aida, they’re the kind of people you’d see stood against the wall at a school dance, rolling their eyes because they think that dancing is stupid.

    I’ve never seen TMNT and I haven’t seen an X-Men movie in ages, so I wasn’t able to pick up on any similarities between Tristram and Leonardo or Cyclops. If you’ve ever seen the show Torchwood, I guess Tristram could be compared to Toshiko. She’s the team’s hacker, and Tristram has that job along with making helpful and sometimes useless little gadgets. I wrote this scene to show Tristram’s skills and illustrate Isaac’s fear of gnomes.

    “This may look like an ordinary garden gnome, but he has a tiny security camera embedded in his right eye. We hide him in a bush nearby and if someone sees him they’ll think he’s just a decoration, while we keep an eye out for enemies,” said Tristam, pulling a box out from under his desk. He lifted a small man out and pointed to his face.

    I stepped back, away from the devil, freaking out.

    “What’s wrong Isaac, gnome got your tongue?” asked Kamari, laughing at me.

    “N-no, but that damn thing will have my tongue eventually. Gnomes are evil. I hate them!”

    “Stop being so gnomist. It’s a concrete thingy with a camera inside. It’s not going to hurt you,” said Tristram. “Now kiss and make up.”

    He thrust the freaky little man out at me, and I immediately turned on my heel, running up the stairs to the second level. I leaned on the railing, trying not to look at the gnome’s evil little grin and pointy hat of doom.

    Tristram shook his head at me. “How the hell can you be such a dork?”

    “How the hell can you be such a gnome-lover?!”

    Kamari raised her eyebrows at me. “You’re very… individual.”

    “Hey! I’m not the gnome-lover here!”

    “You can leap into burning buildings and fly at a hundred kilometres an hour, and yet you turn into a gibbering idiot when confronted with a common garden gnome?”

    “If I had my way, they would all be smashed!”

    “You want a gnomicide?” asked Tristram.

    “Yes! Smash the gnomes, burn them or whatever. A full-scale GNOMICIDE!”

    I thought I’d add an annoying tendency for Tristram to take stuff apart in order to get pieces. For example, Trainer finds that her radio won’t work because he stole the wires. He picks fights with Isaac over (can’t reveal it here) and tends to use his brain more than his body to fight, but he isn’t above kicking when his opponent is down when he does get into physical fights. He is prepared to learn about himself (again, can’t reveal it here) even though he doesn’t like what he finds out.

    Do you think a bit of both bravery about facing death and bitterness could work? Like:

    (A building is about to be blasted apart by a bomb. All people have been evacuated but their aim is to save the building.)

    Aida: “We need a man inside to disarm the bomb.”

    Tristram: “I’ll go.”

    Requiem: “No. If you die, you’re gone. When I die, I’m reborn. Give me instructions over the stickear.” (communications device)


    Richie (Requiem reborn): “Oh great, MORE past memories.”

    Well, Requiem doesn’t have much authority in FIGHT. He’s the youngest and so is sent to bed earlier by Aida, while the others get to stay up as long as they want. I’d be whining too. It’s like giving a teenager a 10:00 curfew when you know they want 11:00. Though he’s the bottom of the food chain in the group, he still gets taught basic fighting skills. He can hold his own but will probably require assistance from an older person when up against someone reasonably bigger or stronger than he is.

    Here are a few things about Kamari (Sentry):


    Is able to laugh at herself when she does something stupid.

    Lives life to the fullest.

    Co-operates well with most team members.

    Is able to solve problems creatively. “There is a light in the scientist’s lab that flashes on if someone tries to pick the lock.” “Is the lab soundproofed?” “Erm, yes, but what does that have to do wi-” (Kamari breaks the window)


    Can be annoying when she talks about trivial things as being “cool” like: “I can walk up stairs! How cool is that?” It is excusable to a degree. She would have died if her father hadn’t paid a scientist to bring them a vial of the super formula (GuardiF, short for Guardian Factor) in the second book.

    Argues with Isaac (It seems no one likes him, huh? Haha. Nah, it’s just Tristram who doesn’t like him. Kamari fights with him because he lied to her before and doesn’t fully trust him)

    Sometimes zones out when people are talking to her. “Sentry, what did I just say?” “Ummm… we’re going to do something?” “No, I was telling you to improve your attention span!”

    Freaks out when anyone shows her any personal attention or flirts with her.

    What do you think?

  19. Ragged Boyon 15 Nov 2008 at 10:28 pm

    I like Kamari. We’re a lot alike.

  20. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 17 Nov 2008 at 6:04 am

    I’m similar to her in a few ways, too. I daydream a lot in class, especially if we’re doing something boring like maths or physics. I sometimes solve problems creatively. Last year in social studies, my group’s model of the Leaning Tower of Pisa kept falling over. I grabbed some craft glue and made a cupholder-looking thing out of papier mache to hold it up. I often do stupid things, but I blush more than I laugh. Haha.

  21. Jacobon 17 Nov 2008 at 8:48 am

    Haha! I have a similar story from a physics course during a unit on seismology. We were supposed to create a model building that would survive an earthquake simulator. The only requirement was that the building could not fall apart. Most of the students used pyramidal shapes, which are theoretically sound but vulnerable to joint-integrity problems. In a fit of daring, I made a cubic building held together with paper-clips and rubber-bands. The building toppled over within 2 seconds but the joints held strong.

    Hilariously, the teacher decided that that the building had successfully met the requirement of not falling apart even though it was on its side for most of the test. If only real architecture were that forgiving!

  22. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 18 Nov 2008 at 3:45 am

    Yeah, I don’t think that anyone would be content with working or living in a building that was on its side. Haha.

  23. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 16 Dec 2008 at 2:43 am

    I’ve revised some of the characteristics for FIGHT members (Known within the group as FIGHTers. This doesn’t make sense when the acronym is written fully as FIrst Generation Hero Team, but it works fine for the abbreviation.)

    1. Instead of it being Atalya who cares for Requiem, I’ve changed it to Olivia. That way I can make Atalya hang around with Tristram more often (further securing their relationship) and show that Olivia’s affections aren’t only for animals.

    2. Tristram is now less of a computer nerd and more of a jerk. He isn’t meant to come off as totally unlikeable, but just a jerk to Isaac. He’s perfectly civil to everyone else (most of the time) but the mere sight of Isaac makes him want to kick him in the head.

    Here are their revised character descriptions:

    Atalya (Owlie):
    –She supports Tristram wherever possible, doing things from simply handing him a screwdriver to finding the motherboard in a computer.
    –She sits up straight, napkin in lap, doesn’t put her elbows on the table, etc.
    – Very self-confident.
    –She’s dedicated to the team’s aim.

    –She shows favouritism to Tristram, so isn’t always fair to the other members of FIGHT. Always stands by his side in a fight, even if it’s against other FIGHTers like Isaac.
    –She’s smug (”I told you so.” “I knew this would happen!”)
    –Always seems to have a sarcastic face on.

    Tristram (Paladin):
    –He’s willing to learn about himself, though he doesn’t particularly enjoy finding out how different he really is.
    –He’s protective of the team.
    –He can hack into a basic computer in minutes, takes up to an hour to get into a network.
    –He has an individual style and stands out in FIGHT. His style is pretty much opposed to Isaac’s. Isaac keeps himself neat and tends to wear mostly plain clothes, but Tristram has a primarily red, black, green and white wardrobe. Most of his shirts have some sort of pattern or symbol on them. He has thick, floppy hair with blue and black dye through it and has a favourite jacket with little badges all down the arms.

    –He hates when it people interrupt him when he’s working on a project.
    –He picks fights with Isaac.
    –He’s hard to read. It’s impossible to tell whether he’s joking or not. Requiem: “Are you sure your idea will work?” Tristram: “I’m positive.” Requiem: “How positive?” Tristram: “Very.” Requiem: “I have to ask because we have everything staked upon this plan. Are you 100% positive?” Tristram: “Well, we’ll know if my plan failed if the bomb goes off and splatters us across the walls.”

    Requiem (Rebirth):
    –He can tell when someone’s going to die.
    –He’s good at reading the emotional atmosphere of an area.
    –He can fight reasonably well, having trained in basic jujistsu for one year. Also gets some tips and tricks from his team mates.

    –Seeing a ghost sometimes upsets him.
    –He complains about training when he wants to look around the city, having been born and raised in a small town.
    –He argues his bedtime and hates eating anything but junk food.

    Olivia (Trainer):

    –Loves animals and can read their emotions, as well as get them to fight alongside her.
    –Has a lot of compassion for any person or animal she meets, often doing little things for people “just because”.
    –Isn’t afraid to tell someone off if they do any harm to an animal.

    –Annoys fellow FIGHTers by making baby voices to Spellbind, her border collie.
    –Gets very angry if someone hurts an animal for no good reason, which can cause her to lose control and set Spellbind on them.
    –Rarely leaves time for herself and gets wrapped up in other people’s problems. As a result, she gets stressed and then gets snappy at anyone who comes near.

    Klemente (Form):

    –Has a sense of humour. He’s the clown of the group. His favourite headgear is a pair of deely-boppers and he likes novelty glasses with the eyes on springs.
    –Able to change his appearance to that of any person he sees.
    –Provides some comic relief in times of sadness. Kamari: “I just want to go home.” Klemente: “Too bad, I ate it! And I’d do it again!”

    –Rarely takes things seriously.
    –Annoys FIGHTers by morphing so that he looks like them, then loudly mocking them. “I’m Tristram, I think I’m SO cool. I have a blue patch at the front of my hair that makes me look like a blueberry. I’m afraid to wear bright colours. I’m violent and I pick fights with Isaac because I think he’s a dork.” Isaac: (Laughs) Tristram: (Growls and leaps over the table, tackling both Isaac and Klemente)
    –His mood changes to that of the person he pretends to be for up to an hour after morphing.

    What do you think?

  24. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 16 Dec 2008 at 2:44 am

    Oh, and Atalya is now known as Whiplash.

  25. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 18 Dec 2008 at 12:08 am


  26. Ragged Boyon 27 Dec 2008 at 6:51 am

    Ok, David I have a little task for you. Take each one of your main characters, and for each one pick three different traits from the list up top. Pick two that are likeable in a person, and pick one that isn’t very likeable.
    Once you’ve picked your three traits make sure that they go together coherently, even the negative.

    For example (I’m not great at this, so bare with me):

    Sophisticated, driven, and reckless-pretty odd mix, but how do they fit together. Maybe, he strived (driven) very hard to get a high status in society, thusly, he sophisticates himself to fit their standards. What about reckless you ask? Maybe his popularity went to his head, so becuase he is driven to do something negative, maybe he a bank burglar. He becomes reckless thinking if he is caught he can always somehow get out of prison. He then begin becoming sloppy during heist being reckless he leaves behind clues to who he really is.

    See now try that for your characters. Of course it is ok to add a trait as long as they all go together to make and interesting personality.

  27. Davidon 27 Dec 2008 at 9:43 am


    Silence is naive, curious, innocent and child-like.

    Chain is gentle, arrogant, pig-headed, a drinker, smug, immature and mischievous.

    D is cautious, confident, intelligent, logical and blunt.

    Solar is sassy, flirty, stubborn and tomboyish.

    What do you think?

  28. Ragged Boyon 27 Dec 2008 at 10:43 am

    These are good. One concern, I think Silence needs at least on strong trait, curiousity is good but sometime that won’t make her seem so helpless. a little confidence wouldn’t hurt. Maybe make her protective of other.

    Seeing as she’s the main character make sure it isn’t out played by her teammates personality. You like Teen Titans, Take Raven for example, also she had a less noticeable personality when it does come into play, it shows strong.

  29. B. Macon 27 Dec 2008 at 10:47 am

    I like D’s combination. I think he will be pretty easy to work with. Solar probably needs a minor trait that’s a bit unexpected for style. (Something that wouldn’t go hand-in-hand with her previous traits hopefully). I like the contrast between Chain’s gentleness and his immaturity.

    Silence’s traits could probably use tweaks at this point. I don’t think that innocentness, naivety and acting like a child will interact in a very interesting way. Those traits overlap heavily. Curiosity is a bit different, but I think that children are typically curious, so…

    Hmm. It does not seem to me that Silence is the main character here. Her traits suggest that you’re thinking of using her more as a MacGuffin than as the main character. She’s what the characters are vying to protect more than the protagonist. I’d venture to say that Chain is probably more of an interesting character, and probably better-suited to being the main protagonist. (He has more of an active personality and seems more capable). So I’d recommend leading with him instead of her.

    Alternately, if you’re really committed to having her as the main character, I’d recommend giving her a few traits that will help make her more active. For example, she’d probably need to be more independent, a self-starter and more competent than she currently is. For example, when she escapes to Earth, that should be the result of some plan that she designs and executes rather than a careless accident on the part of her father’s minions. That will make her seem more impressive and likable, I think. (Right now, she seems kind of helpless and I don’t think that makes her endearing).

    I don’t know what your format is like (comic books vs. graphic novels, for example) but if you’re interested in writing comic books they will probably be around 24 pages. I’d recommend leading with Chain and the Justice Force, describing them for about 8 pages or so. Then I’d recommend introducing Silence and spending 3-4 pages describing her home-life and how she escapes. Then I’d spend another few pages describing how she meets the Justice Force, getting to know them, etc. Then I’d spend the rest of the first issue on the first encounter with Silence’s father.

  30. Davidon 27 Dec 2008 at 12:55 pm

    OK, well. I also have the sequels. The second one is funny and doesn’t have Valkrig in it. It’s more about Chain and his family. The third one is about Silence. She finally fights Valkrig herself and wins.

    In the fourth one, we see a more dangerous and violent side to D. But, like you say, I could work more on Silence. Oh, I have an idea. How about, before she meets Chain she causes a few accidents and at one point steals something (unintentionally, as she has no concept of money)? That could fill in the missing months. I do actually wanna change that because it would be less than a few months before Silence’s father came looking for her.

  31. Lunajamniaon 30 Jan 2009 at 4:38 pm

    This is a great list and it will definitely help me! Thanks, guys! 🙂

  32. Lunajamniaon 30 Jan 2009 at 4:50 pm

    Okay … Positive:

    curious, whimsical, exuberant, athletic–definitely athletic, she has to be as she is somewhat of an acrobat, almost, and does a lot of climbing and backflips and just jumps and moves in ways we can’t.


    can be ‘flitty’/go from one subject to the next, sheltered, alien, bored occasionally, sometimes needy (she only lives with her parents, no friends to talk to, takes all their attention, aggressive when she’s in the mood, naive because she knows little of the world, very impulsive because of her abilities/the rest of her personality.

    Sympathetic stuff:

    innocent, honest, adventurous, energetic, sensitive sometimes, elegant (can that be the same as ‘poised’ like she doesn’t stumble and she isn’t clumsy) but also immature because she’s young and a lot of young people are, well, immature. 🙂


    Well, she’s not really normal and she moves around a lot/doesn’t just sit and watch TV all day … zany I guess, if it means what I think it means.

  33. Ragged Boyon 30 Jan 2009 at 5:14 pm

    I like this list, she seems like a young Catwoman which I find interesting and fresh fo a younger character.

    So how would you wrap this list up into 1-2 sentences?

  34. Lunajamniaon 30 Jan 2009 at 6:29 pm

    Well … okay … *clears throat* Ahem:

    Abby is a curious, whimsical girl sheltered by her parents because of her extraordinary abilities that make her athletic, elegant, as well as extremely energetic and occasionally aggressive. Due to being sheltered, she’s very innocent and naive; knows little of what the ‘outside world’ is like. She loves the outdoors-the woods being the only other place she can go to, thus making her ‘wishing for more’ to see of the world-and here, away from her parents, is able to imagine having great adventures. 🙂

    That wasn’t two sentences and I didn’t get all of it in but it’s a lot shorter than my other post, for sure.

  35. Ragged Boyon 30 Jan 2009 at 6:46 pm

    I like it. 🙂

  36. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 07 Feb 2009 at 3:38 am

    I’ve decided to play Tristram and Atalya’s relationship up a little more. Instead of being just boyfriend and girlfriend, they are a deeply committed couple who are always holding hands and laughing together. Tristram rarely laughs when he’s not with her, and she’s a lot more serious when he’s not around. She has been wearing a promise ring for a year.

    What do you think?

  37. Holliequon 07 Feb 2009 at 3:49 am

    My first thought is: “What’s a promise ring?”

    Anyway, I think that might work, but you’d have to be careful. If you constantly play up their romance (especially if it features any lovey-dovey scenes), it’s probably going to become annoying. At least to male readers. And me, but I understand that I’m not a typical female when it comes to romance in literature.

  38. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 07 Feb 2009 at 4:11 am

    A promise ring can be a prelude to an engagement ring or a symbol of love between two highly committed people.

    Too much romance annoys me, too. I was never into the girly books as a child, always preferring the more male oriented stuff and nonfiction.

    I was thinking of having something like this:

    TRISTRAM: If I reroute their motherboard’s memory into mine, I can see what they access as they access it.

    ATALYA: I love it when you speak computer.

    TRISTRAM: I love it that you love it.

    ATALYA: I love it that you love it that I love it.

    KLEMENTE: Now, we all agree that you’re a good couple, but please, for the sake of my sanity, be quiet!

  39. Holliequon 07 Feb 2009 at 4:21 am

    In that case, I trust your judgement to keep the lovey-dovey to an acceptable level. 🙂 What sort of bearing is this going to have on your action scenes, or plans Tristram makes (I vague remember him making up lots of plans, but I could be wrong)? I would assume he’d try and keep Atalya out of danger as much as possible, even when it didn’t make much sense. And in a fight they’d be looking out for one another, which could lead to trouble with their teammates, or even specific targetting by villains.

    If the new level added by romance would interfere with the story at all, I’d recommend keeping them as they are. I don’t know very much about your story, so I couldn’t say whether this is likely or not.

  40. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 07 Feb 2009 at 4:42 am

    That’s one thing about them; they’re very protective of one another. Tristram is usually the tech man, who hacks bank accounts of evil overlords and donates it to charity, steals blueprints of buildings, disables CCTV and invents gizmoes to help out. He has emailed his ideas to the CIA and FBI, letting them use them as long as FIGHT receives seven of each when they begin to manufacture them for government use.

    He does get involved in the fights, but that’s more Atalya and Isaac’s area. They’ll always be more concerned with each other than the other heroes and perform coordinated attacks together.

  41. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 15 Mar 2009 at 3:42 am

    I’ve got a character description for my villain:

    Cable (He hasn’t got a supervillain name yet, I’m open to suggestions)










    Somewhat whiny (“But Daa-ad! We always bury people alive! It’s a family tradition!”)

    His foster father is Kade Ryans, the mob boss of Perth. Cable is given the opportunity to prove himself by killing the Guardian. He wants to kill him slowly and painfully, but Kade wants it quick and easy so there isn’t a risk of his escape. (Think Doctor Evil and Scott, except reversed. Also, the methods of death aren’t as zany. No frickin’ sharks with frickin’ laserbeams attached to their frickin’ heads. More like drowning, electrocution and burying alive.) Both Kade and Cable want to humiliate him and expose his identity before killing him, as revenge for foiling so many of their plans.

    For those who have forgotten, these are Cable’s powers:

    Psi-blasts (he can use these to knock people over, fly, smash windows etc)
    Increased (not super) strength (he has been training, so he is stronger than Isaac.)
    Increased (not super) speed (see above)

    I’ve decided to grant Isaac an additional power later on. By concentrating his psi-blasts, he can form it into a ball of energy that floats above his hand. He can make more than one at a time and when thrown they send out a ripple of energy, with the epicentre being wherever it lands. (As opposed to Isaac being the epicentre of the psi-blasts)

  42. Stefan the Exploding Manon 15 Mar 2009 at 4:51 am

    The name Deathtrap and Dad springs to mind.

  43. Ragged Boyon 15 Mar 2009 at 6:38 am

    Oh, I thought Cable was his supervillain name. Silly me. I’m not all that enthused about the only two(?) superpowered people having the very similar powers, but I guess it could work.

    I like Deathtrap, you could also try Deathforce. Or you could try something that is the opposite of a guardian.

  44. Tomon 15 Mar 2009 at 6:53 am

    The opposite of guardian? That’s difficult to pin down. I don’t think there is a direct antonym for Guardian. But it’s a good idea.

  45. B. Macon 15 Mar 2009 at 8:35 am

    What, don’t use Deathtrap! 😉 That’s the call-sign of one of the OSI’s pilots. (Along with Trainwreck, Crash and Osprey).

    Hmm… tangent time! Osprey is a bad pun that only military readers will get, but I hope that it won’t affect readers that miss the joke. Likewise, Dr. Darpa is the eccentric scientist that develops weapons for the Office of Special Investigations. If you knew that DARPA was the go-to agency for wacky defense research, that could be funny. If you didn’t get the DARPA reference, “Dr. Darpa” sounds like a completely normal name for a scientist of Indian or Pakistani descent.

  46. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 15 Mar 2009 at 6:29 pm

    At first I thought that having Isaac and Cable with similar powers would be a problem, but then I thought about humans. We kick, punch etc and anyone can do it. Some people are just stronger than others, eg I would never hold my own in a fight against a boxer, but I’d do okay against an untrained adult. Seeing as Isaac can use most of his powers effectively and Cable has trained himself too, the fight would be easier for Cable when it came to strength, but Isaac could dodge around using aerial maneuvers and throw psi-blasts against him.

  47. Ragged Boyon 15 Mar 2009 at 6:38 pm

    Well adding to your observation on human fighting, there are a large variety of martial arts form. I guess this is our “variety” of powers. But, in saying this I’m advancing your point, so I understand what you mean.

  48. B. Macon 15 Mar 2009 at 7:05 pm

    I’m a fan of mixing up the powers. When the two combatants have the same powers, I feel the fights are usually mediocre. A few comic book and movie examples come to mind: Green Lantern vs. Sinestro, Hulk vs. Abomination, sometimes Spiderman vs. Venom, Wolverine vs. Lady Deathstrike, Superman vs. most of his villains, etc. Having two characters that are mirror images of each other tends to make the moves more redundant.

    Even if the two characters have different fight-styles, I don’t think that it would be easy to make the fight look interesting. Novelists may have less of a problem with this, but then again any novel is going to be considerably less action-oriented than the average comic book. So it’s less of a game-killer for novels.

  49. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 15 Mar 2009 at 7:54 pm

    Hmm. I guess I could change Cable’s powers. Maybe make it so he isn’t Kade Ryans’ foster son, but his biological son who was changed because of some scientific mumbo-jumbo.

    What powers could he have to be a good opponent to Isaac? He’d need to fly and have some form of projectile (I love the idea of dogfights in the sky).

  50. B. Macon 16 Mar 2009 at 2:19 am

    Energy control lends itself pretty well for this purpose. For example, Iron-Man, Captain Atom and Starfire both use energy attacks and flight.

    Elemental control of some sort is probably a bit cliche, but it could make a nice complement to melee powers. Usually, elemental control is used as a primary power, so it’s fresher as a complement. I’m particularly fond of wind and fire for this purpose because they can be used in interesting ways that require very little explanation. For example, if the villain tries to force the hero out of hiding by setting the place on fire, Isaac won’t have to say to readers “Oh no! I’ve got to get out of here because he’s smoking me out!”

    You could use guns and the like, but for marketing reasons you may wish to avoid those. Publishers will blink. (Also, some consumers like libraries would prefer to avoid books that feature such elements).

  51. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 16 Mar 2009 at 3:57 am

    Okay, I’m fond of the elemental powers. How about control over ice? Then he could turn rain into ice cubes, make a cloud start hailing/snow, create patches of ice on the road to cause crashes, lower room temperature to freezing levels and use spikes of ice as projectiles. That would also mean he could use them as murder weapons to stab someone and leave. The ice would melt and there would be little or no evidence. Now he needs a name. What about Shiver or Chill?

    I tend to steer my stories away from firearms and more towards blades. A firearm can kill instantly from a distance, making fights easy and boring. At least with blades it is more close-quarters and the fights tend to last longer.

  52. B. Macon 16 Mar 2009 at 5:17 am

    I like the idea of blades, but do they complement the ice well? Maybe if he made his blades. (Technically, icicles do not make for practical murder weapons, but since he’s making his own ice I think readers could suspend their belief that it’s special ice.

  53. Stefan the Exploding Manon 16 Mar 2009 at 5:34 am

    I think control over ice is a bit of an implausible power. Comparatively implausible, that is, because superpowers in general are implausible. Since ice is just the solid form of water there is no reason why he couldn’t manipulate water just as easily. How about having him control temperature? He could make his victims cold as ice by touching them, for example.

    As for names, you could go from the extremely cliche (Doctor Frigid!) to the gritty one-word name (Frostbite) to the slightly creepy (Goose Flesh).

    B.Mac, wouldn’t bludgeoning someone over the head with a large block of ice be more effective than stabbing them with an icicle? Using my suggestion above he could turn the air above someone into ice and it would drop down with a crunch and a squelch, leaving no trace at all.

  54. Tomon 16 Mar 2009 at 10:29 am

    How about calling him Iceman!


    Mr. Freeze?


    I’ve got it, give him the power of fire aswell. Then call him Frostbu- wait…

  55. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 17 Mar 2009 at 2:50 am

    I was going to give him water, but then I realised he could just immediately drown Isaac from the inside out by taking the water from his cells and moving it to his lungs. I used it as a plot device in an earlier short story. I could explain how he controls ice but not water by saying he can only control water at a certain temperature – which just happens to be freezing point.

    If ice wouldn’t be effective as a blade, he could just carry a Swiss army knife around anyway.

  56. Ragged Boyon 17 Mar 2009 at 3:20 am

    Oddly enough, I’ve been telling myself not to break combat rules when using Adrian. Such as drowning an enemy from the inside or just flooding a room or space and drowning them.

    I like the temperature parameter. I sort of similar to Adrian’s powers of thermokinesis on water. He can make it boil, but not steam and he can make it cold, but not freeze it. He can pull moisture from the air, but that’s an advanced technique for Lemorions (Jimelly’s race).

  57. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 18 Mar 2009 at 9:13 pm

    I’m fond of water powers; Gi was always my favourite character on Captain Planet. Her power made me go through a whole stage where I wanted to be a marine biologist. Haha. I think ice is cool too. I love how it looks in Final Fantasy X and Kingdom Hearts.

  58. Asayaon 03 Apr 2009 at 3:38 pm

    What exactly is milquetoast?

  59. B. Macon 04 Apr 2009 at 12:26 am

    Milquetoast means to be too timid.

  60. Davidon 05 Apr 2009 at 9:19 am

    Right. I need to figure out which character traits to give to Cara, Mist, Ra, Michielle, the king, and the main villain. Any suggestions?

  61. Ragged Boyon 05 Apr 2009 at 10:16 am

    First off, what kind of impression do you want each character to give?

    When coming up with a new character, this is my process:

    1) Pick a very generic character type (jock, flirt, nerd, badass, bitch, showoff, etc).

    2) Strip away some of the more generic and obvious traits of that character type.

    3) Add an interesting positive trait (and possibly an interesting talent). This can vary depending on how outstanding you want your character to be.

    4) Add an interesting flaw or negative trait.

    And that’s it. Hopefully this works for other people, too. It works well for me because I like characters with particularly exotic personalities, like Adrian.

  62. Davidon 05 Apr 2009 at 11:57 am

    Well, I like something I can understand and work with.

    How’s this?

    Cara is kind, sheltered, curious, hostile towards Michielle (there is a good reason for that; it will be explained and I’m going to have a growing friendship between the two), and a father’s girl. Her talent is her illusion power, which I’ve thought of some great ways to use.

    Mist is strong, brave, honor-bound, understanding, wise, mature, and sometimes a bit hasty.

    Ra is loyal, fierce, gentle, protective of Cara, and loves fish.

    Michielle is sarcastic, sometimes overzealous for the next fight, kind and understanding.

    That’s the best I can do for now. I usually let my characters develop while writing.

  63. Ragged Boyon 05 Apr 2009 at 7:14 pm

    What in these traits makes Cara a stand alone character? Since she’s the main character, she needs to be the most interesting. The traits she has now seem nice and fitting, but what’s her wow factor? What makes me want to read about Cara?

  64. Davidon 06 Apr 2009 at 3:57 am

    Sigh. I dunno. I’m just gonna write the story and see how it goes.

  65. Ragged Rushedon 06 Apr 2009 at 4:41 am

    It’s all good. Maybe through exposition you’ll find her wow factor. 🙂

  66. Ragged Boyon 13 May 2009 at 1:12 pm

    Let’s see these are the members of Jimelly’s Ashrays (informal name) and their team. A short synopsis, then attributes (save Adrian, you already know him).

    Adrian, 17: The showy and stylish young actor.

    Garret, 19: The silent beacon of peak athleticism. Essentially, he’s a strong and silent type.

    – Silent
    – Protective
    – Dim (this is why he doesn’t talk)
    – Friendly
    – Gentle
    (I would have made him a jerk, but I have Eric. I’ll use him if I want one)

    Jose, 18: The fast-tongued money grubber.

    – Single-minded (Moneeey!!)
    – Sly
    – Sarcastic
    – Nimble
    – Comical (Although, his jokes are usually at others expense. He’s my Deadpan Snarker)

    I’m not sure who I want for my female character. If I choose Michelle, I’ll have a team of generally strong personalities. And if I choose Carissa, I’ll ballance the team with two softer personalities and two stronger. I think I’ll go with Carissa. Michelle might overshadow Jose just a bit as both are slick and sarcastic.

    Carissa, 18: The sweet and sour music child.

    – Endearing
    – Airheaded
    – Snappy
    – Careless

    I want the team to seem really thrown together and ragtag. A mix of random personalities that has to wok together. Hopefully, the ability to clash personality with help me make dialogue stylish.

    What do you think?

  67. Holliequon 13 May 2009 at 1:35 pm

    Hmm . . . four characters in a short series? I don’t know, I think you might have difficulty developing the three not-named Adrian. You could combine Carissa and Garret (by making Garret more outspoken and intelligent, he could counter the strong personalities of Jose and Adrian). If you want a female member of the team, Jose could probably be replaced with Michelle. Or just be female. 😛

    I’m not overly familar with your series, so if you think you can handle four characters on the team + other allies and villains, then go for it. At the moment I don’t think Carissa adds much, though. She seems like a ditzy version of Garret. If you wanted to keep her, I might suggest making her a more nerdy and conventional type. Maybe also nice, but socially awkward. I could see Garrett being the victim of Jose’s Deadpan Snarker comments, so Carissa might work to defend him. Also, if the team is a complete mix of personalities, a character like this might help to keep them together.

  68. Ragged Boyon 13 May 2009 at 1:45 pm

    Good points, especially the amount of characters and development. I think I’m going to combine Garret (I don’t much care for his powers, anyway) and Carissa into Carissa (but less ditzy). I don’t want a nerdy character, because all of them are smart in one way or another. I think three will work fine.

    Thanks for the help.

  69. B. Macon 13 May 2009 at 2:27 pm

    Yeah, I was going to say that I wasn’t sure about the size of the team. I think that giving Adrian teammates might cause the minor characters to steal the show. Personally, I think it would be more interesting to build up Adrian’s alternate identity than it would be to give him teammates. But that’s just me. There is ample evidence that both team stories and solo stories can sell well.

    I like that the characters are roughly equal in age. No kid tagalongs… I don’t think their precise ages are necessary in-story, though. You can probably just refer to them as high school students, or upperclassmen if you want to get specific.

    I’d recommend replacing Jose’s single-minded pursuit with a more general selfishness. I think it might be easier to work selfishness into a plot than a lust for money.

    Worst-case scenario, the sly/sarcastic/comical Jose overlaps with Adrian and maybe overshadows him.

    Jim put this team together, right? I’m kind of interested to see why he selected all of these individuals.

    Do they have a leader? Is it Adrian? (It doesn’t have to be. In fact, it might be more interesting if Adrian has to distinguish himself by excelling in a side-role… maybe the leader is kind of dense and Adrian has to improvise).

  70. Ragged Boyon 14 May 2009 at 4:17 am

    I really did consider making this a solo story. Dammit, now I’m reconsidering. I wouldn’t have to change to much and it wouldn’t be that hard. Idea! Instead of having Adrian be on teams with the others he will team up with them. Meaning they will probably only show up once or twice. I think this could make slightly more sense if each person with a different power has a different mentor alien with that power. That way I could have them show up, contrast with Showtime, work together, and go away so that I don’t have to over-develop them. It’s almost too perfect. I have the partners without the commitment.

    I think I’ve got it. Thanks B. Mac.

  71. B. Macon 14 May 2009 at 4:56 am

    Hmm. Good luck.

  72. Ragged Boyon 14 May 2009 at 6:13 am

    What’s with the jugdmental “Hmm?”

  73. B. Macon 14 May 2009 at 6:47 am

    It was not judgmental…

    I have some reservations about whether cameo superheroes will be interesting, but it could work.

  74. Ragged Boyon 14 May 2009 at 7:51 am

    Don’t worry, I think I’m pretty good at stylish characters. And if not you guys can point out flaws. 😛

  75. KrazEon 12 Jul 2009 at 1:13 am

    I woke up to somehow be in the mood to work on my romantic comedy. Can I get some feedback on Charles’s characteristics?





    no personal opinion(Stacie:I love your clothes, Charles! Charles:Well I can say all my clothes are this great. Harley:I just feel they look so status quo. Charles: I hate these rags too!)


    What’s up doc(s)?

  76. Marissaon 12 Jul 2009 at 2:27 am

    It seems a bit like you just threw a ton of random traits together. Overcautious directly contradicts clueless, shy directly contradicts confident, and so does unquestioning, honest seems to contradict your example for ‘no personal opinion’.

  77. B. Macon 12 Jul 2009 at 3:09 am

    “Overcautious directly contradicts clueless…” Probably, yeah. However, I think someone could be paranoid in an absolutely inept way.

    AGENT ORANGE: I have learned that beavers are constructing sinister dams across America. Whatever they plan to do with our water supply, it could only be nefarious!

    AGENT BLACK: Umm, I don’t think so.

    AGENT ORANGE: You’re missing the signs!

    I agree that shyness and confidence (even if the shyness is social/external and the confidence is mental/internal) would be very hard to reconcile. Also, I think that it would be very tricky if the character didn’t express his personal opinions (or worse, didn’t have any). It’d be very hard for a wimp to stand out in a way that made him seem impressive and/or likable and/or heroic. (To be fair, Agent Black is pretty unassertive for a hero, but he sometimes pushes back when Agent Orange goes over the edge).

  78. KrazEon 12 Jul 2009 at 11:09 am

    Thanks for the help. I guess I overthought my planning. Does this sound better?

    Charles is a tall,scrawny, high school boy of slightly below average intelligence (hes stupid. not an idiot, but stupid). Charles has practically no sense of adventure, making him very boring. On most occasions, Charles never can tell whats going on. With his always wrong explanations of most major events in his life, things usually turn out bad for him.

    Does this sound better?

  79. StarEon 09 Sep 2009 at 2:02 pm

    KrazE’s last post was a long time ago, so I’m not sure if s/he will be around to see this comment, but um, I’ll try. 🙂

    So Charles is for a romantic comedy and not a superhero story, right? I think it’d be helpful to see who his “match-up” is, to see how the characters work with each other. Right now, I’m not sure if Charles has enough POSITIVE traits. He’s described as being unintelligent, non-adventurous, clueless, and not particularly handsome… So what DOES he have going for him? A “boring” leading male won’t be very interesting to your audience. What’s gonna make us cheer for him, and hope he gets the girl inspite of all his bumbling?

    Maybe instead of making him completely inept, you could at least make him very adventurous? Like he’s a big risk-taker (partly because he doesn’t think things through, and this could lead to comedic situations) and makes a lot of jokes. But he’s still clueless about things, especially about girls or the reasons for certain situations.

    Um, does this help at all?

  80. StarEon 10 Sep 2009 at 10:40 pm

    My story (working title: “Second Life”) has five main characters, and not very many important side characters, so I wanna make sure these five work okay… What do you think, ladies and gentlemen? Any first-impressions or suggestions for me? I feel like they need some work…

    Rem, the Protagonist/Heroine (Female), late teens
    Impulsive/Reckless – Combative/Proud – Fiercely Loyal
    Rem is a rowdy and misguided tomboy from a small southern town, and her recklessness gets her and her cousin Corey into a lot of trouble. She doesn’t often think about the consequences of her actions because she always reacts in-the-moment. She often makes up “plans as she goes”, but sometimes it just makes things worse! If somebody gets her angry, she has no problem telling them what she thinks of them, and doesn’t like to admit when she was in the wrong. Instead of admitting to anything out loud, Rem would prefer to make amends somehow and still keep her pride.
    When she makes friends, she gets very attached to them and does her best to stick by their side, no matter what. Though she sometimes gets into arguments with her friends because she’s so hotheaded, she really tries to let them know they’re important to her. Usually, she’s an adventurous risk-taker, though she can be mellow when she’s not riled up. She tries very hard to listen to other people when they tell her it’s IMPORTANT, and though she may be impatient, she tries to be fair.

    Naveed, the Hero (Male), early twenties
    Serious – Reserved – Curious – Exhausted – Blunt – Philosophical
    Naveed is already an ex-criminal/soldier in “Five Star Defense”, which is an otherworldly sci-fi prison run by an Artificial Intelligence system, where you get thrown out into the heat of battle instead of sitting around in a jail cell. Because he has managed to survive for so long in this personal hell, Naveed has learned to be serious about everything, because nothing in this place is a joke. He’s usually quiet and somber, always thinking, and he seems ill with weariness.
    But Naveed is also resilient, and very curious about the way “normal people” live their lives. He’s more engaged, enthusiastic, and full of life when he’s exploring the ruins of an old city, digging out old books, artifacts, and little trinkets. He treats these things very delicately and reverently, as if considering their past owners.
    Although he’s blunt with people and not particularly sociable, Naveed has strong leadership skills and tries to settle disputes amongst the other prisoners without letting anyone using their powers to blow each other apart. Because he is quietly active amid the community of prisoners, he’s gained a level of respect from them, but normally keeps to own team. He’s is a peacekeeper, and tries to take care of people when he can. No one else is going to…

    Vanessa (Female), early twenties, Naveed’s ex-flame
    Sensitive – Needy – Insecure – Analytical – Nervous
    Vanessa used to have more of a fighting spirit, but these days she’s very needy towards Naveed, who she depends on for support. She’s a nervous sort of person, almost as if she’s ready to panic at any moment. Instead of coming unglued, however, she tries very hard to keep herself calm and collected. But her personal insecurities are always gnawing away at this façade, and she gets jealous or depressed when Naveed spends too much time away from her. He’s all she has in this twisted prison, and she’s scared that he might abandon her.
    While she’s sensitive to her relationships with other people, she really gets her act together in battle. Though you may see her trembling in the face of danger, she never stops moving forward, and she never lets herself be useless. Part of her is trying to prove herself to Naveed, and she puts all of her perceptive, analytical, and thinking skills to work. She’s good with making compromises, getting a feel for the situation, and knowing when to “fight or flight”.

    Corey (Male), late teens, Rem’s Cousin
    Jokester – Clueless – Vulnerable/Insecure
    Corey is Rem’s cousin, and he’s always looking out for her or backing her up. Though he’s also got an adventurous streak, he’s usually the first one to notice when things are starting to go horribly wrong. He’s not particularly intelligent and is inept at forming plans, which is why he lets Rem get him into trouble all the time. But no matter what, Corey is always supporting her like a second-in-command. If he’s got a problem with her methods, he’ll wait until AFTER the situation has mellowed out before confronting her about it.
    Generally, Corey is light-hearted and optimistic, maybe even idealistic. He likes to think of the good side of things because he feels vulnerable when things get bad. Making jokes is the only way he knows how to deal with it. After a car crash early in the novel, Corey gets a head injury that later causes him to have trouble thinking about something from beginning to end, and this absent-mindedness frustrates him a great deal.

    Kain (Male), early twenties, antagonistic ally
    Reckless – Smug – Charming – Manipulative – Antihero
    Kain is an ally of Naveed and Vanessa’s, and an old “friend”, but his relationship with them has gone to pieces over the years. Kain has the personality of a handsome salesman, or a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Because he can act so charming and understanding, and knows the “right things to say”, he can be very convincing when he wants to persuade someone of something.
    Although Kain is bitter inside and has some depraved morals, he tries to appear like he’s in a cool, relaxed mood all the time. Usually, this “cool mood” just comes off as arrogant, but he’s not outright mean to anyone unless he’s got a reason.
    Kain tends to respect people with strong personalities/self courage, and has a rational mindset about things. “Good and evil” isn’t black and white for him, so he doesn’t mind doing immoral things for a heroic reason, or doing good-civillian acts for self-gain. Kain is usually well-composed, savvy, and treads a path between good and evil.

  81. StarEon 12 Sep 2009 at 6:46 pm

    Um, did I write too much…? Sorry! How about I just do this, as a super-brief summary of what I wrote:

    Rem, the Protagonist/Heroine (Female), late teens
    Impulsive/Reckless – Combative – Proud – Fiercely Loyal

    Naveed, the Hero (Male), early twenties
    Serious – Reserved – Curious – Exhausted – Blunt – Philosophical

    Vanessa (Female), early twenties, Naveed’s ex-flame
    Sensitive – Needy – Insecure – Analytical/Intelligent – Nervous – Reliable

    Corey (Male), late teens, Rem’s Cousin
    Jokester – Clueless – Vulnerable/Insecure

    Kain (Male), early twenties, antagonistic ally
    Reckless – Smug – Charming – Manipulative

  82. B. Macon 12 Sep 2009 at 9:19 pm

    Rem– this character sounds like a pretty generic Action Girl. I’d recommend mixing in something unexpected to give this character more depth. Maybe a counterintuitive trait. It may help to come up with an experience that has made the character who she is. Ideally, this experience will help you think of different avenues to develop the character. How is this character different from other brash heroes and heroines?

    Naveed– like you said, it doesn’t seem intuitive that an unsociable person would make a good leader. That contradiction could be interesting. …Nothing about this character makes him sound exhausted (peacekeeping and looking for artifacts makes him sound energetic). The contradiction between curiosity and exhaustion is not as fruitful, I feel… his personal background feels kind of cliche. (Are you a fan of Vin Diesel movies?)

    Vanessa– Not quite sure I get this character. If she’s reasonably useful in a fight, why is she so dependent on Naveed? Also, I suspect that her mental issues are going to make readers want to yell something like “good grief, call the waah-mbulance…” Why does Naveed keep her around? (Please dig deeper than something like “because he’s kind/nice/compassionate/heroic/felt sorry for her/etc.”)

    There seems to be a lot of overlap between Corey and Vanessa. Of the two, I like Corey a lot more– his frustration with his mental issues sounds very interesting. The frustration adds a layer of self-awareness that isn’t present in Vanessa, and I think that makes him feel more real. I would, however, recommend giving him a minor talent that makes him slightly more valuable to his teammates. (Maybe it’s a skill or knowledge-set that he had once mastered, but the crash left him with only a shadow of what he used to have. Maybe that’d be like the mental equivalent of watching a 40-year-old Michael Jordan play basketball– both inspiring and depressing?)

    I’m not fond of Kain. He strikes me as kind of cliche.

  83. StarEon 12 Sep 2009 at 11:29 pm

    Hiya, B. Mac! Thank you very much for your input. 🙂 I’m really having trouble with the characters, partly because I’m revising a story I wrote when I was younger. I think my revisions are just making things worse, haha. How do THESE concepts sound? These are closer to the originals.

    The “action girl” thing is all new… She was originally more mild-mannered and innocent. Her and Corey’s felony was their very first crime, so they felt VERY threatened being surrounded by all the hardered criminals at the prison. She was frightened, but tried to suppress her fear because being scared wasn’t going to help her and Corey survive. Her upbeat optimism and Corey’s jokes were meant to keep each others’ spirits up in this gloomy, gritty setting. But isn’t this too “generically nice”? I guess I over-compensated when I tried to make her more rough-around-the-edges… I wonder how I could blend “nice” and “rambunctious” attitudes to make a good protagonist…?

    Thank you kindly for the suggestion of Corey having a broken talent. I love that idea. Naveed pins him as a liability right from the start, so it would be helpful for him to have an ability to counteract that stigma. Since Corey doesn’t have the psychic glitch, his experiences in the prison give the readers insight into how the ordinary non-psychic prisoners exist in this place.

    Naw, I haven’t heard of Van Diesel… I’ll work on Naveed’s background, then. Would it help to mention that he was always serious and meticulous, even before he came to prison? He’s always been a quiet, introspective sort. More keen on watching people than talking to them. I think he was a teenage serial killer, but I’m still trying to figure out if that will work with his character. It would go well with his intense focus, anyways… But I wonder how you make a transition from killing people because you can get away with it, to suddenly realizing that lives are something worth protecting? Actually, maybe that could work okay… But if he was quiet, serious, and introspective to begin with, is that better than a “hardened prison criminal” backstory? He gets more lively and curious when he’s exploring the old ruins for the artifacts of past lives.

    Oh dear, I’ve always had problems with this character, haha. The original version of the character was greatly unbalance and had some post-traumatic issues, and she DID come unglued during a scene or two. She was intensely uncomfortable around everyone except for Naveed and Kain, and was meek, shy, and depressed. Her healing powers made her an asset, but I absolutely don’t want healing magic in the story anymore. It was too convenient whenever I got one of the characters injured… In this version, I want her to be delicate, but… but not too wangsty… I’ll really have to think about how to pull that off… She was convicted for some sort of bank fraud, so I know she’s smart and a good liar…

    The reason Naveed keeps her around NOW is because…
    1) It’s a potential threat for other psychic-glitched prisoners to run around WITHOUT being Naveed’s ally (especially if it was a scorned ex-girlfriend who knows about his escape plan!)
    2) More glitched teammates means the escape effort will be easier. Extra power makes for more efficiency and less individual strain.
    3) He still cares about her, even though their relationship fell through
    4) As an old friend, Kain would probably add “Kill Naveed” to his personal agenda if Naveed just decided, “Whoops, oh well. She’s not MY problem anymore!”

    In the original novel, Kain was actually the self-appointed leader instead of Naveed because he was the more outspoken of the two, but I tried to change him into the “semi-antagonist” because I cut the cast in half during revisions. I cut out four characters, and Kain’s added villainy is there to fill the gaps…

    Originally, instead of being a manipulative cheshire-cat kind of guy, he was more like a tribal prince. Noble, upright, and morally intact, but with far too much zeal for violence and battle. Out of everyone, he was the one who actually ENJOYED having the power to kick the snot out of robots all day. But he did NOT appreciate being forced into this “slavery” when he’s of honorable blood. He could be very loud, rude, moody, and occasionally comedically unlucky. (Mix a “tribal prince” with an “old English prince”. He was pretty civillized except for his affinity for violence)

    Are these actually fresher character concepts, even though they’re my original ones? Should I try to mix these with the newer concepts? What works and what doesn’t…?

  84. Luna Jamniaon 13 Sep 2009 at 2:32 pm

    You don’t know who Vin Diesel is!?
    Anyways, he starred in The Pacifier, Fast and Furious (the first and current/newest), Pitch Black, Chronicles of Riddick, he was also in some war movie, and was the voice behind The Iron Giant. Plus other movies I can’t recall the titles of.

  85. StarEon 13 Sep 2009 at 10:33 pm

    Oh, is he the guy from “Saving Private Ryan”? I think I might know who you guys are talking about now, lol. I haven’t seen many movies with him in it, though… Is he often the “tough-guy with a hard past” sort of character? B. Mac mentioned Vin Diesel in reference to what my hero character Naveed’s background was like.

    Umm, umm, any thoughts on my character concepts? 🙂 You don’t even have to read all of them, haha. Comments and ideas for any of my five main characters would be really super helpful…

  86. Swapnil Siddharthon 06 Oct 2009 at 2:58 am

    Hmmmm… These attributes are really important, to plotting the character !

  87. roon 26 Jan 2010 at 9:26 am

    Hey SN. What is the best way to a mix and match character traits that go together and create a complicated, well-rounded, and understandable character?

  88. B. Macon 26 Jan 2010 at 12:20 pm

    Hmm. I’d recommend picking unexpected combinations. For example, instead of making your character a stereotypical fighter or a stereotypical genius, maybe you could give him a trait associated with each.

    Also, please spend some time thinking about flaws. Give him something that will challenge him in the context of your plot. Do NOT give him fake flaws like “he tries too hard” or “he’s a perfectionist” or “he’s too popular” or “everybody’s jealous of him.” (Sadly, I’ve heard authors try all of those things as flaws. Interesting flaws raise obstacles that are high enough to present significant challenges.

    Also, I’d recommend making the character prove himself again and again. One thing that bugs me is when the protagonist gets congratulated by other characters before the half-way point. If anything, I would hold the congratulations until the epilogue. The more doubt he has to overcome, the more likely that readers will agree that he actually is impressive.

    Some examples from my work.
    –Gary Smith is a clumsy accountant thrown into an extremely dangerous position as a secret agent. His main flaw is that he doesn’t have any of the skills that a secret agent needs to survive and that he let himself be roped into a position he was not qualified for.
    –Agent Orange is a good-natured but extremely eccentric mutant alligator. Since he’s the main fighter on the team, I decided to give him an unexpected voice by making his vocabulary wildly advanced. AO is quite annoyed at his new partner, Gary, because Gary can’t handle most of the roles that AO has usually left to his partner. This means that AO may have to negotiate for hostages or defuse bombs once in a while. It’s not like the accountant can do it.

  89. Holliequon 26 Jan 2010 at 12:20 pm

    I find the best way is to imagine how the character would work in real life. Also, some traits just plain jar with others (impulsive and thoughtful on the same character?)

    Although I don’t encourage basing a character off a friend, if you have a few character traits and are struggling to fill out the character some more, it may help you to link them to a friend/relative/acquantaince in real life. (For example, “Ack, what are the drawbacks of being _____? Hey, my uncle Bob is quite _____, and he always _____” – be careful with this, though.)

    …Otherwise your best bet is probably getting feedback from others. People are complicated, so you could possibly explain apparently contradictory characteristics that they pick up on – but if they find your explanation unbelievable or weak, that’s a sign that you may need to rework that part of their personality.

    Hope this helps! 😀

  90. YonTroperon 07 Apr 2010 at 12:52 am

    I decided to choose three positive and two negative. The characteristics I ended up with were dedicated, light-hearted and law-abiding for the positive ones, and impulsive and naive for his negative ones. He’s dedicated to his job as a ghostwriter, and he doesn’t take his life too seriously (this could be either a positive or a negative thing, depending on the situation), and he’s basically a nice guy. The thing is, he jumped at the chance to write the autobiography of a recently murdered superhero, because the superhero was his idol, without thinking that his job would give him access to said hero’s past associations and connections, and that his finding the secrets from the hero’s past would put him in danger from supervillains. Once that happens and he finds himself pursued by people who would rather the superhero’s past was kept secret, he finds himself in way over his head, and the danger he gets put in forces him to re-evaluate his view of the heroes being perfect, almost godlike figures and the villains as being utterly evil. This is his main character development – having to depart from the safety of his life (he’s had a cushy job and been somewhat sheltered until then) and adapt to the real world. What do you think?

  91. B. Macon 07 Apr 2010 at 4:26 am

    I really like the idea of writing the hero’s biography getting the author in over his head. I think there are many opportunities for personal growth on behalf of the author character especially, which indicates the plot is dramatically fertile.

    I’m excited to learn more about what sort of dangerous secrets he would come across.

    Right now, his dedication is mostly evident in your summary of the plot but his light-heartedness and law-abidingness are not. Could I recommend swapping out light-heartedness for something like idealistic or optimistic? It sounds like he has a very idealistic view of heroes and, having led a somewhat sheltered life, probably of society in general.

    Hmm. Instead of having him ghostwrite an autobiography, could you just have him write a biography? (I know it sounds stupid, but there is some chance that an editor somewhere will get confused into thinking that the author character is the superhero because he’s writing the autobiography about the superhero).

  92. YonTroperon 07 Apr 2010 at 5:48 am

    Good ideas, I think. Site’s being really helpful so far!

  93. manfon 01 Jul 2010 at 1:14 pm

    toooooo long

  94. B. Macon 01 Jul 2010 at 2:30 pm

    Hmm. Thanks for the feedback, manf, but I think it’s pretty manageable at ~150 words. Could I recommend trying Twitter instead?

  95. Doomsdaymanon 22 Oct 2010 at 5:19 pm

    Hey I love this site,im using a friends mobil to write this but I was planing on writting a cross between batman and superman. He’d have powers simular to superman with a darker almost anti hero feel to him. He’d almost be like justice lord superman from jlu (justice lords were sic btw). But I truely want to avoid a sentry type character,because no one I know likes him. I’m wondering though if it because of his powers or because of the character as a whole. I mean I grew up on superman and I know that its hard to write characters of that level of power due to lack of challenge. So I was hoping to get some ideas for my character and weaknesses for him.

  96. B. Macon 22 Oct 2010 at 9:11 pm

    One idea would be that he has incredible powers but that he can’t keep them going indefinitely. Maybe he only has, say, an hour at a time to get the job done and after that he has to do it without his powers.

    Maybe his opponents are more powerful than he is. (This is not a perfect solution to an overpowered protagonist but it’s better than nothing).

    If he has hangups that would prevent him from saving the day in a straightforward and consistent way (like the Sentry), maybe he has a more tangible, external reason than his mental illnesses/issues. For example, maybe he’s being blackmailed or has some unusual ideological goal (i.e. like the Justice Lords).

    I have some theories about this, but I’m interested to hear your take. What do you think are the biggest differences between the Sentry and Superman?

  97. Doomsdaymanon 22 Oct 2010 at 9:33 pm

    Well, superman to me is different in how he uses his powers. Due to him being raisedby good people. I think the sentry was poorly executed in many ways (one being that he was a junkie turn god-like super hero and the fact that he kills so effortlessly. And his mental illness is a poor way to reign him in. It makes him less interesting because his insanity isn’t genuine to me. I think superman suffers because he’s always a near match for his enemies(such as darkseid). I mean doomsday killed him, but it wasn’t enough. If he was DC’s flag-ship im sure writters could do more interesting things with him. For my character he starts off kinda like hercules where his powers (although he tries to help) are a hinderance, even when trying to save the day, he manages to make the general public fear him. Oventually he’ll gain the world’s trust, but he nearly gets exiled in the process.

  98. Doomsdaymanon 22 Oct 2010 at 10:53 pm

    I meant if *superman* wasn’t DC’s flag-ship.

  99. Ragged Boyon 23 Oct 2010 at 7:25 am

    Well, I’d never recommend playing a cliche. I think cockiness is okay for a major flaw, if it’s not a little overdone. Also, I’m curious, how can one be cocky, but humble?

  100. B. Macon 23 Oct 2010 at 8:52 am

    I agree with RB about there being a discrepancy between cocky but humble. Maybe he develops from one to the other?

    As far as flaws go, I agree that cockiness and temper are a bit cliched, and I suspect that if “he jumps in like a retard” he may be so stupid that he bothers readers. The temper seems less promising than the cockiness, particularly because I think that many superhero stories handle tempers in a clumsy, cartoonish fashion. (“HULK SMASH!”) Outside of superhero fiction, I’d recommend checking out the antagonists of The Great Gatsby and Sound and the Fury–they had tempers but were reasonably intelligent*, even in the middle of heated arguments. It makes them a bit more unpredictable, exciting, and probably relatable, I think.

    *Incidentally, one of the protagonists of Sound and the Fury was retarded. So, it’s not that dumb characters can’t work–I think it just takes special care and talent.

  101. Doomsdaymanon 23 Oct 2010 at 5:06 pm

    Hey bmac, I was wondering what your thoughts where on my superman type character.

  102. B. Macon 23 Oct 2010 at 6:04 pm

    I’m sort of drawing a blank. Based on what I know, I think my comment here covered all of the major ideas I had.

    I don’t know much about the character’s personality besides that he’s sort of an antihero in the vein of Justice Lords. What led him down that path? Also, if the public is not really fond of him, why does he fight for them rather than go down a more selfish Lobo-esque path?

  103. Doomsdaymanon 23 Oct 2010 at 6:21 pm

    Thats what im gonna play on, he starts of as a teen who wants to do the right thing. Along that path people grow to fear him due to destructive mishaps. Oventually he gains the respect of the world ( almost getting exiled in the process). He slowly starts heading down a darker more fanatical path. It’d start by the realization that as the world currently is crime will always be present, due to the justice system. He then starts punishing criminal more harshly and begins an almost crusade like path to errect a benevolent dictatorship, etc. I also want to play on the temptation of being someone like superman and the ability to do nearly anything. Oventually he comes around and learns patience and becomes not so fanatical down the road. Not before earth becomes a theocrastic empire. 😉

  104. Ragged Boyon 24 Oct 2010 at 7:17 pm

    As mush as Aden could come of as a realistic human, he also runs the risk of looking like a poorly-developed character. I’d recommend giving him a distinct personality that easily defines him/her from conventional archetypes. At the very least, I think you should give him a consistant train of thought. Maybe he does what he thinks is the best leadership even if he’s overzealous sometimes? Maybe he doesn’t throw enough caution to the wind when running into dangerous situations? Maybe he overthinks things and doesn’t act quickly enough?

  105. B. Macon 24 Oct 2010 at 8:59 pm

    It might feel inconsistent if he goes from cocky/arrogant with enemies to humble with friends. Will readers understand the shift? (An option that makes sense to me is that he acts cocky in response to being challenged, which suggests that the cockiness is a way to hide insecurity–he feels more insecure around foes than friends, so he’s not too cocky with friends).

    Also, you mentioned that he acts “simple” with friends. How does one act “simple?” Would a simple person be interesting? It might be more stylish if his brashness carried over into how he interacted with friends. (I think it’s possible to, for example, trash-talk your friends over various minor things in a friendly and likable way–my friends and I talk a lot of smack about fantasy football*, NBA Jam skills, air hockey, and sundry other shenanigans).

    Dramatically speaking, I think it helps if there’s some avenue for disagreement/conflict and personality clashes between friends.

    *Currently, I’m leading my league in points scored this season. In your FACE, everybody else!

  106. B. Macon 11 Nov 2010 at 10:47 am

    Hmm. It’s hard for me to say without having read any of the story proper, but I’m sort of getting the impression that it might help if his edges were a bit rougher. I mean, if he’s compassionate/kind and observant, really how short-tempered is he?

    What sort of choices will this character make that readers will disapprove of?

  107. B. Macon 12 Nov 2010 at 9:45 am

    Umm, okay, I think it would really help to dig a bit more into these. For example, let’s say that his being a loner is his most important trait. If so, I think it would really help to look more into why he’s a loner. For example, is it because… it’s hard to find friends that are into things as reckless/dangerous as he is? Is it because he’s too frank/blunt to be around people without aggravating them? Is he bored by people that are less athletic than he is? If he’s a loner, how are you planning on using his good-humor?

    I think that finding connections between the traits will help him evolve into a three-dimensional character from a collection of unrelated traits.

    Also, why does it matter that he likes parkour more than, say, chess or boxing?

  108. Crystalon 31 May 2011 at 5:31 pm

    Y’know, just someone who can make you laugh.
    Unstable. Very. I mean, the kid could go crazy and destroy you at any second. He’s like a time bomb. Not exactly someone you want to have on your team.
    Clueless, slightly. Adam’s generally pretty intelligent, but keep in mind that he’s only thirteen years old, with none of the training that the others have had.
    A little stubborn

    Takes himself a little too seriously
    Again, sticks by the rules too much.

    I’ll do the ones for Rebecca and Eva as soon as I can

  109. Crystalon 31 May 2011 at 6:18 pm

    Do you think that these work out so far?

  110. Crystalon 31 May 2011 at 6:24 pm

    Calm. Usually.
    Lack of powers, obviously
    A little sheltered
    She likes to be in control.
    When she gets angry…Watch out!

  111. Crystalon 31 May 2011 at 6:25 pm

    Whoops…I forgot to turn off the bold for that last part. Sorry!

  112. B. Macon 31 May 2011 at 11:27 pm

    Hello, Crystal. Okay, with each of these characters, I’d recommend cutting/consolidating down to 2-3 notable strengths and 1-2 flaws. I think that’ll help the most important traits stick out more.

    I notice that Adam is faithful, Daniel is dutiful, and Rebecca is dutiful and dedicated. In practice, I feel these traits usually play out very similarly. If you notice that the characters are acting the same way in a wide variety of situations, I’d recommend tweaking the characters a bit so they overlap less. Similarly, both Rebecca and Daniel are serious and honest, and I get the impression that both Adam and Rebecca are unstable (“when she gets angry… watch out!”)

  113. Crystalon 03 Jun 2011 at 5:34 pm

    Yeah…Sorry, I totally forgot to do one for Eva. I seem to have a hard time explaining the characters’ qualities. Actually, Adam and Eva are the most alike. The word I would use the most to describe them is ‘child-like’.
    Um, just a quick note about Adam’s positive qualities: Most of them were his qualities before the story started. When he finally meets Rebecca in person, he’s a lot different.
    When Adam goes crazy, all the harm that he does to people is physical. However, when Rebecca is very angry, she just tends to yell at them. She’s been around longer than most people, so she knows everything about everybody… Including how to hurt them.



    Wings don’t really count as a real power.
    Immature. Yes, she’s only twelve, but is having a twelve-year-old on your team really a good idea?
    A bit of a crybaby at times. (This may also apply to Adam.)
    Definitely not as experienced as everyone else. Even Adam had a few years of training. Eva, she gets to train for a month, and then is expected to run out and fight.
    Won’t hurt another person. Well, no one wants to, but, again, Eva is the youngest. Not that she refuses to defend herself. You just won’t find her with a gun or any of the technology that the others have.

    I know that it looks like she has a lot of negatives in comparison to positives, but, actually, Eva is becoming my favorite character.

  114. Grenacon 19 Jul 2011 at 4:35 pm

    Let’s see if I can actually form these into coherent words instead of just abstract thoughts.


    – Helpful
    – Carefree
    – Persistent

    – Selfish
    – Spiteful

    Ianthe’s got a “save the world” mindset (there’s a reason for it). That becomes her motivation for becoming a hero. She’s very helpful towards others and doesn’t like to see anyone sad or hurt. She was raised in a very happy environment, her mother and sisters are all very supportive and encouraging. Since her father’s departure, she’s been harboring feelings of selfishness and anger, but she tries her hardest to keep those hidden.


    – Exuberant
    – Honest
    – Just

    – Obstinate
    – Rude
    – Impulsive

    Cirocco’s disliked by most everyone because of her attitude. She’s a good person at heart, but it’s overshadowed by her rude tendencies. This pushes her self-confidence down to the floor. She decides to become a hero to become famous and be liked by everyone. She cherishes Ianthe as a true friend. Coco is also very judgmental and once she has an opinion on someone, it’s highly unlikely to change.

  115. JDon 30 Aug 2011 at 1:44 am

    This site is awesome! Also, it’s extremely helpful.

    Hey, I have this character named Gabriel and I just got done with his personality traits. Can someone tell me if this is a good mix:


    – Confident

    – Whimsical

    – Intrepid

    – Rebellious

    – Charming


    – Foolhardy

    – Immature

    – Pensive

    – Disorganized

    – Obstinate

  116. Brian McKenzie (B. Mac)on 30 Aug 2011 at 6:45 am

    It’s a little bit conventional, JD. For example, almost all of the charming characters I’ve seen are confident/intrepid. And rebellious frequently goes along with foolhardy/immature.

    Granted, I’m not sure what the character’s role in the story or his backstory is like, but I’d recommend giving him at least one major trait that doesn’t go hand in hand with the others to help flesh him out a bit more. Whimsical could work there, depending on how far you plan on going with it. (For example, my own Agent Orange is intrepid/confident, charming, rebellious and whimsical, but I think whimsical is the most obvious of the four–if you’re interested in seeing how that plays out, please see my script here, password brian ).

  117. ShyVioletson 27 Oct 2011 at 9:39 pm

    Hi everyone!
    I have a few character personalities id like to run by you guys.

    The first is my main character:

    Theodosia “Theo” Knight
    Positive: intrepid, curious, and resourceful
    Negative: blunt and sarcastic (blunt isn’t necessarily bad but she can’t keep her mouth shut at times)

    Elieazar “Eli” Gunner
    Positive: playful (bordering on flirtatious), enigmatic, and enchanting
    Negative: wild and mistrustful

    Ian McKenna
    Positive: driven and self-reliant
    Negative: volatile, depressed, and bitter
    (he is kind of in a funk due to the death of is girlfriend but never fear he will come out of it before he has time to crash the story)

  118. B. McKenzieon 28 Oct 2011 at 9:12 am

    Hmm. I think curiosity is sort of a given with intrepidity (which actually is a word, I think). It might if Theo and maybe Eli had some traits that were more unexpected together. I think Ian’s combination of self-reliance and depression/bitterness is the freshest of the three.

  119. ShyVioletson 28 Oct 2011 at 9:48 pm

    For Theo I’m thinking of replacing curious with persuasive (she can talk people into her crazy plans and lie very well)

    And for Eli I think replacing enchanting with analytical (he can analyze pretty much any situation both quickly and effectively which puts him at odd with Theo because her plans usually sound like terrible ideas because most people don’t have as much info about the elements of her plan as she does. Her advanced perception makes explaining things very difficult for her)

    As for Ian, his personality starts out with heavy emphasize on the negative traits but he mellows out as time goes on and becomes a somewhat more positive person. If he was very depressed and bitter the whole time he would probably get somewhat annoying so I’m going to have him change slightly as he gets over the death of his girlfriend.

  120. RL Junioron 13 Nov 2011 at 3:08 pm

    whats good everyone? I was wondering how many traits are good for a character?

  121. ShyVioletson 13 Nov 2011 at 5:05 pm

    As many as you want but I personally find 3-5 easiest to work with.

  122. RL Junioron 13 Nov 2011 at 5:07 pm

    Here is a character i came up with. Let me know what you think about his traits

    Uriah Black


    He inherits a power-suit from his grandfather. His grandfather leaves him the suit because he recognizes Uriah’s nihilistic attitude and wants him to realize that there is meaning and purpose in life.

    Uriah’s nihilism causes him to have very little respect for authority and conventional systems. He analyzes everything and is extremely intelligent and curious.

    He has a hard time adjusting due to his eccentricities and his relationships are forced and lack depth unless he has a point or he feels they can enhance him in some way.

    But beyond it all he is a heroic nihilist. When he inherits the suit he decides that even though life is nothing, maybe he should be something to fill it.

  123. ShyVioletson 14 Nov 2011 at 5:15 pm

    I’m no expert, but from what you’ve said your character sounds like he’d be hard to like. Generally, the most importing thing about a protagonist is that he or she be likable and relatable. Just because he has heroic tendencies doesn’t mean readers will like him. You might want to try and make his good personality traits more prominent. He does however sound very interesting which is a plus when trying to make a character stand out.

  124. B. McKenzieon 14 Nov 2011 at 6:47 pm

    “the most important thing about a protagonist is that he or she be likable and relatable.” I agree with you that some degree of likability is crucial for most protagonists, but I think relatability is optional. There are many successful characters for whom relatability is at best an afterthought (e.g. Batman, most royal characters, Tony Stark and Ender Wiggin and most other super-geniuses, most military action protagonists, James Bond, Sherlock Holmes and most detective protagonists, etc).

  125. ShyVioletson 15 Nov 2011 at 6:32 am

    Hmm, I can see your point B.Mac but many protagonists who don’t seem directly relatable end up being so because of their experiences. I personally found the fact ender was bullied and didn’t get alone with his brother made he relatable and Princesses Mia from the Princesses Diaries movies(i hated the books but loved the movies) came off as very relatable too. I can’t think of too many books, comics, or graphic novels that of read where the characters are totally unreliable but still likable. (Batman being the only one I can think of off the top of my head as I never really liked Tony Stark). I do think your right though that relatability can be an after thought as long as the character is likable. If the character if borderline unlikable the relatability may need to be amped up or the character changed to be more likable.

  126. Rosidaon 08 Jul 2012 at 1:08 pm

    Amazing! This was very helpful.

  127. JPon 19 Jul 2012 at 8:33 pm

    How much of these traits do you recommend a character to have? Like 2 traits per category or something?

  128. Neilon 19 Jul 2012 at 10:08 pm

    Hello everyone. If anyone would mind,I need some assistance with a main character I am working on. Although I have personality in tact, the issue is that I’m having trouble finding a character motivation for my main character, Derek.

    The first basic trait he exhibits is carefree. Derek’s an easygoing person. He’s not the type to whine nor complain. He’s also the kind of guy who doesn’t aspire for greatness and is content with himself.

    This in many ways goes back to his past, which is surprisingly dark. When he was young his father, drunk, assaulted his mother and such she left him. Having viewed the act very little, he was traumatized for a while. That is until his mother steps in and explains that while life has pitfalls, you shouldn’t despair; rather accept the good stuff a person has and just let bygones be bygones.

    This was very powerful to Derek and the trait developed as a way to cope and be content with the problems he faces in life.

    On the other hand, he is also very absent-minded. He’s the type of guy who’s rather oblivious to other’s presence and constantly stares off. This comes from his idea of living in the moment. He believes he needs to take a step back and enjoy being in the moment or wherever he is.

    Of course this can be detrimental, as when speaking to someone whose conveying critical information, they can perceive it as him being uninterested. This can also reach dangerous levels, as not paying attention could lead to not getting enough information, which can lead him to be killed.

    The other aspect that I noticed with his development is that he’s very driven. This may seem rather contradictory to his easygoing atitude, but it doesn’t seem like that. Though appreciating what he already has, if there’s something Derek wants to achieve, he’s not the person to sit by and wait for it; rather he’ll go for it.

    This can tie back to the fact he’s on the soccer team, which he always enjoys the rush of the game, or in his daily life when wanting to accomplish something ( like fulfilling his superhero duties), he’s the type who will work hard at it.

    If anyone has an critiques or suggestions about character traits I am more than open. In regards to motivation, the only thing I can come with is that he wishes to attain happiness.

    This idea in his view is where one lives in the moment, always appreciates what one has, and does not demand much from life. Again, I am open to suggestions about anything mentioned here.

  129. Kenon 22 Jul 2012 at 1:04 pm

    Hey. I need some help with giving each of my characters a distinct personality. Well, here they are:

    Kenneth “Ken” Marsters



    Quinton “Quinn” Spansley



    Derek Jackson



    Alison Whitaker



    Kristin Anderson



    Tell me if these characters need work.

  130. Emilyon 04 Aug 2012 at 9:33 pm

    I’ve been developing an idea for a comic book for fun. I’ve got 6 main characters. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated!

    Slugger: an athletic hero who specializes in baseball, but thinks in the terms of a master chess player. But for such a smart guy, his supportive girlfriend, Goody-Goody, goes out of her way to make him feel worthless and stupid. That’s amore.
    Positive: clever, charismatic, good-natured
    Negative: lacks common sense, shallow, a pushover

    Goody-Goody: a hardworking, vicious heroine who’s gifted with duplication and various other powers. She’s fiercely competitive, and isn’t above knocking down those who upstage her. So don’t beat her at Scrabble.
    Positive: bubbly, ambitious, sweet
    Negative: holier-than-thou, jealous, catty

    Spark: the mistreated current sidekick to Goody-Goody & Slugger, who has absolutely no idea how he got the job. It’s not like he has some cool superpowers that he doesn’t know about. That would just be absurd…right?
    Positive: exuberant, good-humored, compassionate
    Negative: oblivious, immature, insensitive

    Poindexter: the ex-sidekick of Goody-Goody & Slugger, who was gifted with intuitive aptitude…whether he can face the music, or not.
    Positive: highly intelligent, thoughtful, aloof
    Negative: critical, jaded, haunted

    Roxy Rockefeller: Poindexter’s best friend, a Southern belle who’s gifted with earth manipulation & superhuman beauty. She’s a “rough in the diamond.”
    Positive: flirtatious, sophisticated, vivacious
    Negative: manipulative, rude, bitter

    Motormouth: a petite heroine with an even shorter temper. She’s gifted with an incredible, but dangerous power: her words. Her insults can start fires and destroy cities. And she works in a library.
    Positive: honest, witty, passionate
    Negative: impulsive, combative, bad-tempered

  131. Yuuki12on 17 Sep 2012 at 10:40 am

    Greetings everyone. I have been planning for a short story, and such I would request some feedback, in regards to the main character, Jennifer “Jenny” Walker.

    To utilize this website’s method of describing characters, if there were two positive traits which best characterize her, it would be her confidence and adventurous spirit.

    To address the former, Jenny is not timid neither shy. When pushed around, she will hold her ground. She would also hold her ground, and would never walk away from a fight. The basis of her assertive nature goes back to her backstory.

    Being ridiculed and made fun off for having no actual powers, Jenny,despite being saddened, realized that being miserable wasn’t going to get her out. She would remain strong, even in the face just terrible odds.Even after being kicked out of her family, she’d remained strong

    The basis of her self-assurance could also go back to her abilities. After finally attaining power, Jenny reveled in them, believing she could now prove herself. Whether it be facing down a large ravenous monster, or a harsh person, she’ll always stand strong.

    It is this last piece that transitions to her adventurous behavior. Jenny hates to sit around. With how large the world is, she’s not afraid of it; instead relishes the unpredictability and jumps into it. Also, her bold presence might also be a byproduct of her background.

    Having grown up in a traditional, staunch family, Jenny’s hates conforming to conventional ideas and methods. Thus, she’s the type to do stuff her own way; no matter what others think.

    Perhaps, Jenny’s need to separate her self might tie into some rebellious behavior. Alas, I digress. Aside from enjoying the thrill,Jenny also appreciates her viewpoint, given she has the ability to prove herself.

    If there were two negative traits that Jenny best displayed, these would be overconfidence and being mouthy.

    To address the first flaw, Jenny believes in herself. The extent is such that she tends to overestimate her skills. The result of course can be disastrous, and can place her in a bad spot.

    As to why she’s so self-assured; it is again her backstory. Being ridiculed by her own family members for having no power caused Jenny to want to prove her self. That said, upon receiving power, she’d wanted to follow through on her belief.

    The extent causes her to proclaim her invincibility, when in truth, that is not the case. As for her saucy atitude, that is also connected with her backstory.

    Jenny is very bold. She’s not the type to trust individuals at first, and comes off as rude. This is more so the case with people in authority, as she’s not privy to obey them. Thus, this causes her major trouble, when cooperating with law-enforcement and other high authority heads.

    It can also make her come off as a jerk. All in all, that is what I have. Any suggestions or comments I am of course open to.

  132. TheNexton 04 Jan 2013 at 12:59 pm

    I am still confused on my main character’s personality traits.

    These are some that I thought up:-
    #Recklessly Brave*

    *My Question is that:
    *I want to show my character as being a coward at first and then show him grow as a character and become recklessly brave.

    The reason he becomes Coward and impulsive is that when he was a very small kid,his father gave him a Holy locket(only because mother told him so) and told him that “God would always help him,whenever he needs God”. But the character then sees his father beat up his mother and the little kid is totally helpless. The father leaves the house threatening a divorce.Seeing his mom cry makes the character very emotional and he keeps thinking of himself as a coward…this makes him impulsive as well.He also loses faith in god,as God did not help him…(This is quite relevant to the story)

    Do you think it sounds plausible? Would it be too angsty?

    -Thank you…^_^

  133. B. McKenzieon 04 Jan 2013 at 10:49 pm

    Does he get a chance to make choices involving these traits that most other protagonists wouldn’t make in the same situation? (E.g. maybe he runs from the house because he’s so uncomfortable about his mother crying, something unfortunate happens while he was gone, and he plausibly blames himself that he should have been there to help).

    Where does the impulsiveness come in?

    “He also loses faith in god, as God did not help him…” Another possibility for growth here is a becoming more mature/resilient. It sounds like he might have a selfish/petty approach to the divine (e.g. treating God/faith like Santa Claus), which strikes me as believable (especially for a child who has been through some very tough times). In time, he might make movement along a different path (although he might not actually get there).

  134. TheNexton 05 Jan 2013 at 8:40 am

    First of all,thanks a lot for replying,B.Mac! ^_^

    #”Does he get a chance to make…..”
    – Actually I want to show the ‘incident’ as a past(In the present the hero is a 16-year old).

    -I want to show the ‘Incident’ as a reason for him losing faith in gods and also why he acts cowardly when faced with danger( I want to show the character wanting to prove himself,that he isnt a coward)

    eg:- The hero comes from school to his home and finds two men trying to kidnap his mom.At first he panics and shows fear,but thinks of the “incident” and as he couldnt protect his mom in the past(from his dad),feels the need to ‘rectify’ the ‘mistake’.

    #So do they sound workable ? I want these incidents to have a good interconnection.

    Thanx a lot for the help. ^_^

  135. TheNexton 06 Jan 2013 at 8:21 am

    Can I get a reply on this one…^_^

    sorry for posting this…but i dont get to come online much..:/

  136. B. McKenzieon 06 Jan 2013 at 1:15 pm

    “So do they sound workable?” I don’t know–I don’t have many details to work with. Seeing two random guys trying to kidnap his mother doesn’t seem to connect as well with the past/backstory as it could. Is there some reason she’s this magnet for danger?

    PS: Would it sound believable that a 16 year old is using terms like “rectifying” his “mistake”? Might be more natural to phrase it in more everyday terms, like “I can’t let that happen again.”

  137. FVE-Manon 24 Jan 2013 at 4:26 am

    I’ve compiled a list of traits for the main characters of a novel I’m about to begin. If you’ve got the time, could you please give me your thoughts? Are these combinations of traits too clichéd? Are there enough traits for each character, or should I add more for any?


    -Player/womaniser (knows all the trappings of the female mind and how to exploit these).
    -Over-reactive in both actions and philosophies (e.g. if he read a study saying that women are more attracted to men who aren’t single, he would argue that “Women are only attracted to men who aren’t single”).
    -Reformed hoodlum.
    -Cannot ignore a friend with problems, feels he needs to fix the issues of his group of friends.
    -Atheist/anti-religious (though more on the religion-hating end of the spectrum than the logic-following end, since he’ll swear that he has seen certain mythical creatures, regardless of all the evidence pointing to the contrary.)

    Metalhead (Protag’s best friend)

    -Zany conspiracy theorist.
    -Open-minded, often to the point of taking no stance on an issue.
    -Secretly depressed at times, to the point of drinking and crying alone (Protag only observes this once).

    Brute (Protag’s friend)

    -Reminiscent of good times past, to the point of putting his past on a pedestal.
    -Hoodlum, though not as “reformed” as Protag (bent on persuading Protag back into old ways).

    Sissy (Protag’s friend)

    -Butt-of-all-jokes in his group of friends.
    -Passive-aggressive (absorbs his friends’ “jokes” until he snaps).
    -Weird/creepy (says disturbing and inappropriate things without meaning to).

    The Girl (Protag’s love interest)

    -Driven towards artistic goals.
    -Boyish sense of humour.
    -Sexually open (neither “loose” nor “prudish”, but wise to the mindset and tactics of womanisers).
    -Flexibly religious (just stern enough to conflict with Protag’s assertive atheism).


  138. nerdywordybirdyon 23 Jun 2013 at 5:15 pm

    I would love some feedback on this. I am in the beginning stages of a novel and am working on developing my main character, Regina, who is a teenage girl struggling with her identity. (She is either 13 or 15; I have not decided.)

    I am using the method you outlined in another post, where you suggest giving the character two good traits and a bad one. I have come up with this:

    Good — creative (she is an artist), reserved
    Bad — insecure

    Are insecure and reserved too similar? Some of her reserved-ness stems from her insecurity. Would I do better to group those two together and pick another good trait to go along with creative?

    This is a great site. I just discovered it today and I will definitely be back. Seems like an awesome community, and the advice is just what I need! Thanks!

  139. Isaac Einstein Teslaon 25 Oct 2013 at 1:25 am

    Hey everyone. I’m currently working on multiple projects, but the one I’m about to refer to is currently in character development.

    I don’t have a two-sentence synopsis yet, but I do have the basic idea: a demonologist in modern-day America summons seven demons to Earth, each of which represents the Seven Deadly Sins referenced to by primarily Christians (of whom I am not one of; please don’t hate). Each of these demons possesses a human to take control of their body, and one of them – Envy – ends up sharing a body with the consciousness of the human host, unlike the others. So, the story is about Envy and his human host interacting with the other demons. The rest isn’t really solid yet.

    The problem I’m having is that while I have the negative trait of each sin demon picked out (which was too easy), I’m still trying to figure out good traits, if anyone will help.

    I’m aiming for mildly original variations of these sins. I’ll explain in a moment. First off, I got my inspiration from Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. Kudos to Hiromu Arakawa, the creator of the Fullmetal Alchemist manga.

    Now, keep in mind that while these seven emotions can and will be a problem in excess, esp. among political and religious leaders, most of them (except Gluttony) are harmless, even helpful, in moderation. Here’s my understanding of the Seven Deadly Sins:

    Sin Analysis:

    Sloth – While an excess of sloth is obviously bad (a person does nothing with their life), a little sloth can cause someone to procrastinate the exact right amount that their work actually comes out better than if they had been building stress by worrying about it throughout the time the project is assigned. This doesn’t always work, and easily backfires, however.

    Pride – Too much pride is a problem, obviously. It causes stubborn foolishness akin to what can be seen in the United States Congress every single time the national budget is brought to the floor. However, in the absence of strong motivators like self-defense, the defense of others, wanting of power or money or fame, or other forms of greed, then refusing to allow oneself to look the fool – a form of pride – can allow for a decent replacement.

    Wrath – Being too wrathful can get you fired, even arrested, if you act on it. However, some wrath can save your life in combat if you’re untrained and in danger.

    Greed – Too much greed is the primary problem behind capitalism in America: too many powerful people who are too greedy. However, no greed is equally bad, for it is greed that drives man to seek out ways to better himself, and drives humanity forward in the process by invention and discovery. Did Thomas Edison invent the light bulb without plans to market it for money? I think not.

    Envy – Envy is basically greed, except focuses on something/s belonging a specific individual/s. Being envious just means that you have what someone else has, a motivator similar to greed, except that you know – or at least think you know – exactly what you desire. As such, it has similar pros and cons to greed. Envy is only a true problem when someone actually tries to obtain something that can only be in the territory of one person at a time, such as a lover, or a particular seat of power, such as a C.E.O. – and the envious person is willing to perform dirty tricks or unfavorable actions to “steal” such a person or thing. But when a desire isn’t mutually exclusive between rivals, envy simply acts as a motivator.

    Lust – Yes, lust isn’t a good basis for a healthy relationship. Lust is also what initially causes one person to ask out another. It’s that first spark of sexual tension that is the oldest reason to ask out another. Without lust, humanity would not have made it this far.

    Gluttony – This is the only sin on this list that is 1, actually a sin (sin [noun] – an immoral act considered to be a transgression against divine law), as the other six are emotions, not actions, and 2, is by definition an excess and thus cannot exist in moderation. This excessive consumption applies not just to food, though that is the traditional example. As where greed and envy are forms of recognizing desires, gluttony is an act that fails to differentiate between want and need, an important distinction. Gluttony is really the only sin on this list that is inherently bad.

    So, finally, here are the characters, with all the traits I’ve figured out (plus some story design notes):

    Pride the ????
    Positive Personality Traits
    Negative Personality Trait

    Greed the Eager
    Positive Personality Traits
    Ambitious (of which eager is a synonym of)
    Negative Personality Trait
    More Details
    Founder and President of Avaricious Instruments, a scientific and technological research firm.
    Greed has Sloth as a valuable and well-paid employee.

    Envy the Methodical
    Positive Personality Traits
    Negative Personality Trait
    More Details
    Main character

    Wrath the Courageous
    Positive Personality Traits
    Negative Personality Trait

    Sloth the Resourceful
    Positive Personality Traits
    Negative Personality Trait
    More Details:
    Sloth the Resourceful is slothful not because he does nothing all day. Rather, he is slothful because he spends a great deal of time and effort working on new and inventive ways to have to do less. He actually made his fortune and still builds it by inventing contraptions for effort saving and selling the rights to market them to Greed the ????, the President of Avaricious Instruments.
    Sloth can afford a mansion as large as his because most of the work is done by automated devices. They do virtually all of the cleaning and repair work, saving him time and money on servants and repair workers.
    Even before he made it big, he had machines doing work for him in a smaller home. He developed a device for transforming trash into clean energy that he hooked up to the house. That way, he spent very little money on his electrical bill, even with all the machines hooked up to things.
    His inventions include: self-cleaning toilets, showers, and sinks, refrigerators that empty themselves of old food, a television device that allows a person to use voice commands instead of a remote controller, and more.

    Lust the ????
    Positive Personality Traits:
    Negative Personality Trait

    Gluttony the ????
    Positive Personality Traits:
    Negative Personality Trait

    If you haven’t noticed, each demon is named after their negative trait (the sin they represent), and are intended to have a title that matches one of their positive traits. So, I’d like help with that.

    P.S. Sloth the Resourceful is based off of a character who I think is from a Robert Heinlein novel who is the laziest man on earth because he constantly comes up with new and inventive ways to make doing things as easy and efficient as possible.
    P.P.S. I’m sorry this post is so LONG! I won’t blame anyone for not reading any or part of it or not responding. If you’ve read this far, thank you and please help, if you can cranially and ethically.

  140. ekimmakon 28 Nov 2013 at 3:12 am

    Now that I think about it, has anyone ever used pride for a negative trait without making the character extremely unlikable?

  141. B. McKenzieon 28 Nov 2013 at 11:44 am

    “Has anyone ever used pride for a negative trait without making the character extremely unlikable?” I think it would be really helpful if the pride shows up mainly as something OTHER than arrogance/bragging. For example, check out what Walter White did with pride on Breaking Bad. WW is a brilliant chemist who makes some really really bad life decisions (because he was too proud to take a safer, subordinate position) and becomes the world’s best drug manufacturer. While pride is the character’s main flaw, he rarely if ever boasts.
    –Walter White doesn’t talk about how smart or formidable he is. For the most part, he just demonstrates it. There are also a few examples where others talk about how smart or formidable he is. Here’s a conversation between two DEA agents having difficulty trying to convince a criminal to act against White because of how dangerous he is. “You’re just guys… He’s smarter than you, luckier than you, and whatever you think is going to happen, the exact reverse opposite is going to happen.”

    –His pride sometimes manifests positively (e.g. he is generally very protective of his subordinates and family and repeatedly puts his life on the line to keep them alive). He sees any slight to them as a slight against him as well. His pride shows up even when it is counterproductive to his own goals — e.g. he repeatedly acts to keep his DEA brother-in-law alive even though killing the DEA brother-in-law would assuredly have made things easier.
    –He gets into the drug business because he’s too proud to accept GREAT #2 positions. He’s a brilliant chemist and can pursue any opportunity he wants, but I think the main reason he goes into crime is because he wants to be at the very top of his organization.
    –He has the ability to sell his supply of methylamine (a drug-making reagent) for $5 million. Even under serious pressure from homicidal criminal partners, he refuses to sell out for $5 million because it reminds him of the time he sold out his potential for a month of rent.
    –He’s obsessed with helping his family even though every member of his family tells him at least once that they don’t want his help if it involves him being a homicidal drug dealer.
    –He would rather work with an unqualified toolbox as his partner in a meth lab than with an actual chemist. Arguably this is a pride/control issue. (In his defense, the actual chemist is more loyal to a rival criminal than to Walt, so Walt may be making a prudent security decision here).

    Alternately, if you are going down the road of arrogance/bragging, do it with charm (e.g. Tony Stark). It’s also very helpful if the character’s arrogance somehow helps him accomplish a goal or is incited by another character. For example, check out this scene from Avengers. Captain America is explicitly challenging what Tony Stark brings to the picture besides his suit. Tony Stark is absolutely right to point out that he’s a genius. In contrast, if Tony Stark had just unsolicitedly mentioned that he’s a genius for no reason besides his own pride, that’d be less justifiable/likable.

    This last piece of advice goes out especially to every 13-16 year old guy ever: Arrogance is EXTREMELY unlikable if it’s not backed up by unusual competence. That’s what separates the cinematic Tony Stark (someone who is arrogant but very likable) from Hal Jordan / Green Lantern (an asshole man-child). Personally, I would probably drop an insta-rejection on an arrogant main character that could not back it up. It’s really aggravating.

  142. Isaac Einstein Teslaon 31 Dec 2013 at 6:43 pm

    Thanks for the advice. I think it would be easiest to go with the Tony Stark route over the Breaking Bad route, since I know more about the movie incarnation of Tony Stark and could probably figure out ways to make Pride competent enough to back up any provoked boasting.

    Also, a friend (or was it my sister?) pointed out that gluttony, while still an actual action, is simply consuming by definition, not excessive consumption. Thus, zero gluttony is zero survivability. Once again, none is just as bad as or worse than too much.

  143. Anonymouson 01 Jan 2014 at 10:05 am

    @Isaac Einstein Tesla

    No. If you looked it up, you would see that Gluttony is over-consumption. That is why it is one of the Seven Deadly Sins. It is considered to be selfishness and/or associated with greed. Your friend/sister obviously didn’t look it up.

  144. B. McKenzieon 01 Jan 2014 at 4:12 pm

    “Also, a friend (or was it my sister?) pointed out that gluttony, while still an actual action, is simply consuming by definition, not excessive consumption.” Hmm. I think it is generally just excessive consumption. For example, the Catholic Encyclopedia defines gluttony as “excessive indulgence in food and drink.”

    Anonymous: I’d strongly recommend being friendly and giving others the benefit of the doubt as much as possible (especially online — the person on the other end could be an eight year old for all we know).

  145. Anonymouson 01 Jan 2014 at 5:49 pm

    B. McKenzie,

    I’m really sorry about that. I didn’t realize that I was coming off as rude. I hope no one got mad at me.

  146. B. McKenzieon 01 Jan 2014 at 7:58 pm

    Ah, no worries, Anonymous.

  147. Neilon 17 Jan 2014 at 7:50 pm

    I am having trouble defining traits for my main character, Adam. This has been frustrating, because I kind of have an idea, a bit it is not fully fleshed out. When I’m stuck in places like this, I usually like to write up some kind of backstory. That way, I can solidify my ideas and see what’s good, and what’s bad. I apologize if it is long, but I wanted to be as detailed as I could so as to properly flesh him out.

    “Adam’s origins aren’t exactly the prettiest ones. His mother was a prostitute who gave birth to him by accident. As such, he was forcefully given away to an orphanage. The place wasn’t well off. Being inside the heart of Queens, it was a rough place, filled with limited donations.

    Two things in his life helped him. The first thing was drawing. Ever since he could remember, he’d always loved to draw. These were simple drawings, like buildings, cars. But they became more elaborate, like futuristic cities, cool samurai.

    His need to draw was fueled by optimism and curiosity. He believed the outside world wasn’t like he endured, that it was a beautiful place that just waited to be seen, waited to be sketched. This was also in line with his optimism of a better life, and the good within people.

    Much of this was fueled by the efforts of Sister Natalie. A member of the nearby church, she would often visit to assist the center. Adam adored her motherly, warm attitude. As a result, he’d often visit the church, listening to the prayers and choirs.

    Among other contributions was Sister Natalie preaching about how life is rough. She claimed that if he looked at the bad, they would see the bad. On the other hand, if he looked at the good, believed in the lord’s grace and himself, he would find good.

    This fostered Adam’s unwavering faith towards life. The biggest contribution one day was during his ninth birthday, when she bequeathed a sketchbook. Adam was overjoyed and treasures it.

    Alas, tragedy struck when Sister Natalie was shot and killed. At first, Adam felt alone and depressed, knowing the person who he’d treated like a mother. However, he snapped out of it. The reason being he knew she would have hated him seeing like this, and wanted him to never stop believing and having faith.

    It is this willpower and her wisdom, Adam never forgot, even as he got older. Alas, at the age of fourteen the unpredictable happened: he was to be adopted. The couple was Mr. and Mrs. McKnight. Two young well off individuals who were unable to conceive. Although nervous, Adam is excited, as he will finally see the world. ”

    To address a few things, the idea of him being an orphan came from two points. One, is that I won’t lie; I was inspired byCaptain marvel (now called Shazam), specifically Bill Baxton. Although, I will admit his character is not the best.

    Basically, I thought his setup could be very fish out of water. Given my story is aquatic themed, it might be a fresh take, as for the most part, he hadn’t lived an ordinary life.

    To comment on the backstory, perhaps the one thing I see in him is his optimism. Given his curiosity, and the influence Sister Natalie, as bad things were he never stop appreciating the good things. This I actually want to use as a character flaw, where he might be overly optimistic about people, and the world; and that once he sees the dangers and bad, this could affect him.

    I also see him being very faithful, specifically towards people and his beliefs. He isn’t one to abandon others, and sticks to his convictions. Maybe, this could lead into another flaw where he’s too strict on himself. An example being he doesn’t drink, or he always says grace, before eating.

    Just some ideas. All in all, I apologize for the length. I have been having a hard time with the character, and I need some desperate feedback, good or bad.

  148. B. McKenzieon 18 Jan 2014 at 9:30 pm

    Some thoughts, Neil:

    –Hmm… based on what I know so far, it sounds like Adam may benefit from a bit more moral depth. For example, does he get opportunities to do things that aren’t 100% heroic? If so, I think that would make him come across as more human/natural. Does he get flaws besides being overly optimistic/trusting?

    –Is there any element of conflict to the relationship between Adam and Sister Natalie?

    –“Being inside the heart of Queens, it was a rough place…” In the story itself, I’d recommend working especially hard to show anything about the setting that’s important to the setting (e.g. anything about how rough it is). My assumption here is that the vast majority of your readers do not know anything about what Queens is like. (95% of Americans and 98-99% of English speakers worldwide aren’t from New York City).

  149. Neilon 18 Jan 2014 at 11:28 pm

    @ B. McKenzie

    First off, thank you for your contributions. Like I said, I have been struggling with this character, and I do think you are most apt in your observations.

    That said, I actually do see some conflict between him and Sister Natalie. Specifically, this might have to due with his drawings? Maybe, he finds something like gun casings or a knife.

    This might upset Natalie, as she is a staunchly opposed to violent depiction, and all around violence. Adam is confused, and says it looks interesting. This could be tied to his curiosity towards his world. This causes Natalie to smack him, saying he will not have anything. Hurt, Adam tells her to stay away and runs away.

    As he runs away, he’s gets attacked by some gang members, who attempt to bully him. Adam tires to run, but is pin down and is about to get beaten. That’s when Natalie shows up and tires to help him, but gets shot.

    As she lays dying, Adam tearfully tells her he’s sorry. Natalie says it’s okay, and dies.

    I apologize if the beginning part about him finding something dangerous sounds convoluted, but I wished to make this have an impact on the character. He sees the horror of the world, and at times doubts whether or not there is good.

    But he still holds onto Natalie’s beliefs out of respect, and very much a form of guilt.

    Again, I know this might be stretching it, but I wish to showcase how Adam, while clinging onto Natalie’s beliefs, finds it tough to stay overly positive, as he’s seen horrible things.

    The second option I could do is actually make him a pacifist. Given that Sister Natalie’s teachings of doing good, maybe that included not trying to harm one another. This could be taken to an extreme, where as you highlighted in your posted link, where he tires to negotiate with his enemies, even when fighting is the only option.

    Again, another idea. I am just trying to prevent him from being completely nice.

  150. B. McKenzieon 20 Jan 2014 at 1:01 am

    “The second option I could do is actually make him a pacifist. Given that Sister Natalie’s teachings of doing good, maybe that included not trying to harm one another. This could be taken to an extreme, where as you highlighted in your posted link, where he tires to negotiate with his enemies, even when fighting is the only option. Again, another idea. I am just trying to prevent him from being completely nice.” Hmm… if you’re looking to make him less nice, I’d generally recommend personality traits and/or goals and/or decisions which could be disagreeable and interesting. One concern I have about making the character pacifistic is that I think it’d probably make him substantially less proactive and may force you to drag him along to do interesting things compared to a character who is more enthusiastic about superheroics*. One possibility would be making his pacificism more situational/limited… For example, on Breaking Bad, a drug lord refuses to have his brother-in-law (a high-ranking police officer) murdered even though the brother-in-law’s investigation creates major problems for the drug lord. In Iron Man 3, Rhodes gets ambushed because he mistakes a lady for a noncombatant.

    *Generally, I wouldn’t recommend making a main character passive/reactive unless you’re creating some sort of contrast with another main character (e.g. Spock is generally more passive than Captain Kirk and is much more likely to comply with an order to stay out of danger).

  151. Neilon 20 Jan 2014 at 5:15 pm

    @ B. Mckenzie

    First off, thank you for the repeated advice. It has been most helpful. I can see the situational pacifism working out. One other flaw, I can see him having is being stubborn in his beliefs.

    To backtrack on the pacifism, the reason why I chose it is one of the weaknesses of his powers, aside from dehydration, is a loss of sanity, specifically if he gets too angry or upset, he goes berserk.

    Maybe, his pacifism increases to a dangerous level, due to the fact he doesn’t wish to hurt anyone; all the while learning from the Atlanteans that the nature is apart of him, and simply rejecting it will not alleviate the problem; rather make it worse.

    This could lead to him, realizing this, but also as you said relying on situational-based pacifism, such as when someone he cares about is in danger.

    However, another example of a flaw I can see him having is stubbornness.

    After Sister Natalie’s death, maybe Adam pushes himself to maintain the beliefs she taught him to an extreme level. This can also be taken to an extreme, as he is unable to accept other possibilities of the world. An example might be is that he might suspect the villain (given this is a sea-based story), to be an Oil corporation that has recently wishes to build a few more platforms.

    Given their suspicious nature, and his new responsibilities, Adam might take it upon himself to stop their operations, aka sabotaging the rigs, and disrupting operations in a violent fashion. This can cause disapproval from his friends, who say he’s taking it too far, and is being righteous.

    Unaware, that the actual villains are a group of environmentalists being misled by an Atlantean.

    I do not wish ones would actually work, or if I should try anything else. All in all, what I do not want is for him to be generically nice.

  152. Tyraon 20 Apr 2014 at 7:48 pm

    I have been working on a (hopefully) future novel. The main character is a teenage girl named Hally. She’s
    o Upbeat and adventure seeking
    o Loves music
    o Has a lot of perseverance (in things she really wants to finish, in encouraging)
    o Not patient (waiting)
    o Little pervy
    o powerful and quick thinking

    I really want someone that readers can relate too- she’s completely normal (at where I’m at anyway)- but I also need someone who is memorable.

    I’m planning a fight seen now, one that will kick off the plot to a faster pace. She’s not going to be fighting in this one, since she has no experience in the field. I’m having someone she saved earlier do the fighting. I don’t want her to look weak, but I’m not sure how to do that while being protected (by a boy).

    What do you think?

  153. Glamtronon 21 Apr 2014 at 2:02 am


    It all depends on what you’ve got in mind. I still don’t know much about your story. How powerfull is the enemy that attecked her? Maybe a bit too strong for the rescuer to overcome and may a hit from behind or something, i dunno. Just a little help she can offer.

    About making the character people can relate to. You can make her less perfect . Thats what makes spiderman very likable. Teens tend to make wrong decisions no matter how intelligent they may be. Her “impatience” could play up there and make her screw things up. You also said she was intelligent. Sometimes intelligent people make mistakes with an air of confidence because they’ve been successful at previous times, and then the task of cleaning up the mistakes comes up. For example avatar korra is a hippy hoppy teen that’s good at starting fights but not ending them.

    I’m not really good at writing advice, i hope this helps.

  154. Someone who needs helpon 09 Jun 2014 at 3:34 pm

    I have a good beginning for a story, but I don’t really have traits for my character, nor do I know the direction this is going to go.
    My protagonist was an American mercenary brainwashed by local mobs in Detroit. He does not know his identity, only that he was well trained in martial arts, spoke many languages, and was extremely fit. He was brainwashed with another mercenary, who becomes an interesting enemy later. Anyway, he and the other mercenary, Ghost, were told they were in an explosion and they eventually became part of the mob. Later, an American soldier recognized my protagonist and he eventually left the mob and fought against it. I don’t really know yet where I want to go with this, I wanted him to have a shady, mysterious past, as a mercenary and unknown past and stuff, for the reader to learn with the character, but it bites back because the character has no drive without a past. What kind of traits should this guy have and where should I lead this story?

  155. Neilon 20 Jul 2014 at 8:27 pm

    Greetings everyone. After toying around with countless ideas for my next project(finished my first draft of a story), I decided to continue on with a project that I started four years ago. That said, the one issue I am having right now is fleshing out the main character: Andrew Goldstein.

    In my view, I don’t think he’s cohesive and I am desperate for assistance on the matter. Alas, let me give you his back-story so as to elaborate.

    Andrew Goldstein was born in Utica New York on May 10th 1997. Andrew’s life was not easy. His mother, Susan, had left his father,Dave, for another man when he was little. It also hadn’t helped that his father Dave wasn’t the best father. He was often abusive(emotionally and at times physically) to him. With that in mind, the one relationship that Andrew held was with his older sister, Lisa.

    She very much acted like a mother, paying for his school supplies, feeding him and being productive. While Andrew loathed his father, he respected his sister, and in turn the two became close. What solidified their relationship more was when Lisa gave him his first laptop. The device was something he treasured, as it represented the connection he has with her.

    Hence, the second aspect to Andrew’s back-story is his interest in computers.There were two reasons why Andrew pushed towards the devices. The first was interactiveness. Andrew saw computers as better companions than most people. They couldn’t harm him, and in turn were easier to understand and receptive to his ideas.

    This leads into the second reason for trusting computers: control. Given computers are programmed to do whatever individuals tell them to do, Andrew sees programming and computers as clarity, a veil behind all illusion and distrust. This could explain his analytical behavior, because as a programmer he’s learned to observe relationships and traits. The idea of control could also explain why he gets impatience with others less intelligence, as he sees people at times harder to interact with.

    All in all, how is he as a character? Should I revise him.

    P.S: Sorry about this, but is it possible to make Andrew a bit Misanthropic. Aside from adding to his character, there is a plot relevance to his notions of distrust towards humanity.

  156. Thunderwulfon 15 Oct 2014 at 2:55 pm


    I was wondering if I described my character enough. This is a summery of him and his powers as a superhero. He might be a bit OP. Any form of comments are well appreciated.

    • Character Name: Aaron Theodore Pines
    • Age: 17
    • Nickname / Alias: Ace, Aeros (Aer in Latin means Air. It was honestly the best name I could come up with because Aaron’s power control air, not the weather. So I couldn’t name him Tempest or Cyclone because to me, it wouldn’t make sense because the name doesn’t go along with the power.)
    • Date of Birth: September 15, 1997
    • Place of Birth: Anchorage, Alaska
    • Residence: San Franscio
    • General Appearance: Somewhat shorter than the average height for his age, skinny and haggard, has pale skin
    • Ethnicity: Russian, German, and English
    • Language: Russian, French, English, and Spanish
    • Family: Theodore Matthew Pines (Surrogate Father, Alive), Olivia Grace Pines (Biological Mother, Dead), Emily Olivia Pines (Sister, Alive), Allen Brian Smith (Older brother/father figure, Dead), (Biological Father) Ubel Erebus Apollyon (Biological Father, Alive {Literally means, Evil Darkness Destroyer} Allow me to explain this real quick. Yes, I have read the article about the superhero cishes that need to stop, but hear me out. He was born and raised by his mother and Theo until she died when Aaron was five. Ubel is Aaron Biological father and doesn’t know about Aaron existence until he is already a teenager.)
    • Height: Five foot six inches
    • Weight: 127 pounds
    • Clothing Sizes: (Beginning) Large clothing, hangs on his frame. (Later) More fitted to his body so that is harder to get a hold of him.
    • Clothing Choices: Simple clothing and jeans, at the most, a nice shirt.
    • Uniform: gold bullet-proof vest with white shirt. Brown pants with multitude of pockets. Wears a two-toned cloak, the inside of the cloak is a bluish grey, while the top is a charcoal grey. Wares a black domino mask. He has finger-less gloves that are the same shade as his pants.
    • Weapons: Daggers, throwing knives, shrikens, hands and feet
    • Hair Color: As white as pure snow
    • Hair Length: Cut into a Caesar Cut, later it is styled in a fohawk because his hair grows longer
    • Eye Color: Light Blue, with a little bit of grey
    • Handedness: Left handed
    • Jewelry: Watch on right hand
    • Tattoos / Marks: Whip scars on back, faint scar along the right side of his face, large, thick scar on his center of his chest that is vertical, runs the length of his sternum and a hole-like scar on his right forearm where he removed a tracking devise.
    • Role in the Story: Major
    • Education: Literate, great understanding of the world and science, also great in math and history
    • Work History: Worked in a coffee shop
    • Skills: Aerokinesis (the ability to control, summon, and manipulate air, super agility/reflexes, enhanced hearing, sight, and smell, and the ability to fly), Fighting (enhanced durability, expert hand-to-hand combatant{master in kickboxing, karate, and nuejituo}, peak human strength/endurance, advance acrobatics, expert tactician and strategist), master of stealth, master tracker, master escapologist, master thief, advanced leadership skills
    • Origin of Powers: Aerokinesis was devolved over time, but was always there; however, it came up when he was begin beaten up by some old kids, nearly killing the bullies. The other skills were devolved over the course of time due to training
    • Power Limitations: Since Aaron’s powers is elemental, his aerokinesis relies on his stamina, therefore the more he uses it, the more his power drains his stamina. His power also works like muscle mass. If you don’t use it, you lose it. Because of this, Aaron’s powers will slowly deplete in their strength over time if he doesn’t exercise with them.
    • Phobias / Fears: Losing his loved ones and team, being in absolute silent or isolation
    • Bad Habits / Vices: Pickpocketing, thievery
    • Quirks: Rolling his shoulders, crossing his fingers and putting them on his face and going into deep thought, rubbing the scar on his chest when scared or thinking about his past, flipping a pencil or pen in and out of his fingers.
    • Best Qualities: Confident, cautious, creative, logical, steady, slightly serious, compassionate, dedicated, rugged, helpful, meek, eloquent, analytical, and calm.
    • Worst Qualities: Somewhat paranoid, like to solve his own problems, anti-social, has a hard trusting people, reserved, and at times critical.
    • Key Childhood Experiences: Was abused by his father until age seven, ran away from home, joined the League of the Concealed, found out he was a meta-human and had aerokinesis
    • Key Teenage Experiences: Half the league was blown up in a hidden bomb, went into hiding with the remaining of the league so they wouldn’t be killed off
    • Favorites (food, clothing, art, music, TV show, movie, book): snow crab, simple clothing, preferable for colder weather, loves to draw and write
    • Morality / Ethics: Is very merciful to those who have harmed him, will never kill,
    • Style of Speech: Tends to use bigger words to describe something or someone
    • Words/Slang/Jargon: Will use contractions instead of the actually words
    • Personal Quote: How can I trust you if I can barely even trust myself?
    • Additional Information: His favorite animal is a wolf because he knows that they symbolize your instinct, intelligence, appetite for freedom, and awareness of the importance of social connections. This animal can also symbolize fear of being threatened and lack of trust.

    Character Bio

    Aaron was born on September 15, 1997 in Anchorage, Alaska to Theodore and Olivia Pines. He was always a skinny child from birth. He was noticeable intelligent even from a young age. After their mother died when Aaron was only the tender age of five, his father started to drink alcohol, and started to physical and mental abuse Aaron. He whipped, kicked, and punched him. Aaron was forced not to talk unless a question was directed towards him.

    Eventually, the abuse became so bad that he made a plan to run away (Aaron is eight by this point). One late night in the winter, Aaron fled from the apartment that he had lived in since he was a child. By some bad chance of luck, their father found him and proceeded to beat Aaron. He actually threw him against an ally wall, which badly broke his sternum and a few of his rib in the process. Had one bystander by the name of Allen Smith hadn’t heard the screams of the child, Theodore could have easily had killed him. Allen punched and kicked Theodore to knock him out before calling the 911.

    Aaron was healed at a nearby hospital, while his father was charged with attempted murder, assault, and child abuse and sentenced to forty years in jail. (I hope that is accurate for the laws in Alaska) Allen adopted Aaron about a month later. Aaron did not warm up to Allen very quickly. To him, he saw any adult male figure as a possible threat to his survival. Allen was very patient with Aaron during this time and very slowly started to gain his trust. Allen homeschooled them and they made huge leaps and bounds.

    Allen introduced Aaron (still eight years old) to the League of the Concealed soon after Aaron had made a full mental and physical recovery. Around the time Aaron was nine years, several bullies started to beat him. Even with his training at the time, Aaron was no match to the boys beating him. All of a sudden, Aaron’s aerokinesis erupted from him and siphoned the air from the bullies’ lungs, causing them to suffocate. His powers turned off right after they all blacked out. Aaron was afraid of his new powers and didn’t tell at first. Allen managed to find out what happened and helped trained Aaron so that he learned how to control his power.

    When Aaron was twelve, they were put into a group with other in the hope of creating a team. The entire group conceded of meta-humans. The members of the group, their positions, and their powers were as follows:

    • Orion Chase: leader, chronokinsis (the ability to move people, animals, or items through time, and the ability to slow down or speed up ones perception of time)
    • Ada Cunningham: infiltrator, magnokinesis (the ability to control magnetic fields, metal, and magnets, a rare form of geokinesis)
    • Carter Johnson: technician, electrokinsis (the ability to control, summon, and manipulate electricity)
    • Aaron Pines: thief/infiltrator, aerokinesis (the ability to control, summon, and manipulate air)
    • Emily Keen: healer, hydrokinesis and cytokinesis (the ability to control, summon, and manipulate water, the ability to control, summon, and manipulate ice)

    Two year after the formation of the team, disaster stuck. Someone blew up the secret base located in the mountains in Alaska. Nearly two thirds of the League when up with the base, including Allen, which had grown into something of a father figure towards him. The League broke up soon afterwards, allowing the survives to live in secret from the public. Slowly, some of the members disappeared never to be seen or heard from again. Aaron went into hiding for the next year, hitchhiking and walking until they got to San Fransico. And the rest is history.

  157. Anonymouson 06 Nov 2014 at 1:23 pm

    (: These are great words to use in super hero stories

  158. Jade D.on 24 Dec 2014 at 11:36 pm

    Hey, I need help fleshing out a character and I thought I could start by picking some basic traits to build off of. Here is what I have for this character so far:

    He grew up in a rich household and enjoyed his wealth, but he tried everything in his power to please his rich parents so they would notice him. He was recruited by an international spy agency to serve as a diplomat because of his nogotaion and communication skills. He is a people-pleaser that always seeks approval and has morals that he strictly adheres to. His biggest personal problem is trying to balance his wants, needs, and morals while struggling with the desires and expectations of others and society.

    It would be really helpful to narrow this information down to a few key traits I could tinker with.

  159. Alpha Flighton 25 Dec 2014 at 10:54 pm

    Thunderwulf: YAY!!!! Finally, a superhero who has heard of Kevlar 😀
    He sounds like a cool character. I’d be interested in reading more about your story. I’ve always liked “wild” characters (ex. Wolverine) more than goody two shoes like captain america… They make more interesting decisions (the usually have wicked powers, too 😉 )

    Jade D: some adjectives I Think might go with your character:
    Subservient (?)

    Maybe people would take advantage of his honour/ need to please?

    Anyway, hope this helped!

  160. Anonymouson 23 Aug 2016 at 1:35 pm


  161. young grasshopperon 15 Jan 2017 at 8:17 am

    One of my main characters in this story I’m writing is dutiful, spiritual, strict, and unstable (he has a major inner struggle in that he is a Christian, but has several hidden sins that pull him apart from the inside). I’m wondering if having a major character be a Christian is too risky in a story that isn’t targeted towards Christians. I don’t want my story to sound preachy; what I’m going for is to explore the complexities of a character that doesn’t live up to their own high moral standards.

  162. William Keatingon 06 May 2017 at 8:27 am

    I just want to ask. How would the character flaw of “weird” be defined?

  163. AjofEarthon 06 May 2017 at 9:49 am

    @William Keating

    Afternoon. Dictionary.com defines “weird” as 1.) involving or suggesting the supernatural; unearthly or uncanny, 2.) fantastic; bizarre; 3.) archaic…

    However, in terms of modern use to define a person as generally strange, I think “weird” is relative to the society which deems a character such in the first place, not the character himself. For example–if a society is war-oriented, it might be construed as “weird” if a character were working toward peace or had an aversion to weapons and violence. Likewise, a society of meat-eaters might find it “weird” if a character were filling his plate with leafy greens. Without some normative framework for how the overall culture of your story operates, even if it’s the mundane every-day world, there’s no way to define “weird” regarding an individual character’s behaviors.

    Or, for a simple definition, probably something along the lines of behaviors, actions or attitudes that go outside what is perceived as usual or normal by societal standards.

    Just my $0.02, hope it makes sense.

    Happy Saturday to ya!

  164. William Keatingon 08 Feb 2019 at 4:30 am

    Can I ask why Saucy is considered a negative trait?

    This is possibly because I’m British, does Saucy have a different meaning elsewhere?

    And also, which traits list would align with a more lustful character?

  165. redassassinon 19 Mar 2019 at 3:17 pm

    William Keating,
    I don’t actually know what the real definition of saucy is.
    In the midwest, we think of saucy as having too much sauce on pizza or so.
    Like, my brother gets half the sauce on the pizza because it’s too saucy.

  166. redassassinon 19 Mar 2019 at 3:27 pm

    Hi! I’m writing a book called Powerful. I don’t even know why it’s named that…it always has been and I can’t think of it being anything else!
    Anyway, here’s the thing of Mackenzie
    Mackenzie Brittany Bolton
    Power: Flight
    Main character, bronde hair, a leader, has a rebellious streak, not someone that you want for an enemy, cares for her family but isn’t afraid to keep secrets from them, doesn’t know when to shut up sometimes, can get obsessed on stuff. A little bit dissatisfied, honest, sensitive(when *whoops can’t say that that’s spoilers* dies, she can’t get over it easily), kinda critical, clueless sometimes
    What I mean by clueless- Mackenzie takes someone because they have superpowers out of school and makes them ditch. Quote after they walk: “And just leave me behind. Fine, whatever. I’ll like the walk,” Emily sighs. I ignore her and her bad attitude and start flying over the forest. It was strange, there was a defined line between the sand and the forest. I fall away into my thoughts during the long flight. What was Emily’s problem? Why was she always so…mad?
    My friend:
    Family: Mother(alive), Dad(alive), Benjamin Bolton(brother, freshman. You’ll see him later in my long comments about characters…). Uncle(died)
    Mackenzie discovered her powers after getting teased by some girls and confided in her uncle, Uncle Noah. One day when Mackenzie was 9, she walked in on him getting chewed out by these Mexicans(I don’t know I’m not racist I just watch too many cop shows I RESPECT MEXICANS!!) that claim that Uncle Noah told them about Mackenzie’s power(flight) and start to question her. Mackenzie denies it so the men kill Uncle Noah while they force Mackenzie to watch. That traumatized Mackenzie and she kept her powers a secret. She was never really liked in school and was the victim of Abby Henderson’s bullying. After rebelling and putting Abby’s stuff on the roof, the rest is history.
    Also, all comments that are mine after this are of characters.

  167. B. McKenzieon 20 Mar 2019 at 9:55 am

    “Like, my brother gets half the sauce on the pizza because it’s too saucy.” Lou Malnati’s?

  168. redassassinon 20 Mar 2019 at 1:12 pm

    Nah. MODs. Only I have been to Lou Mainati’s because of choir.

  169. redassassinon 26 Mar 2019 at 10:44 am

    I kinda wanted to have fun with it and create a basic personality of me! also, no last names or age or hometown because…….obvi. I’m going to list the character traits and then explain them

    Name: Isabella

    Age: Teenager(i’m not sharing my age but it IS somewhere between 10 and 14)

    Gender: Female(if ya can’t tell)

    Looks: Tall and skinny for her age, dark dirty blonde hair down to her shoulders with partial highlights, blue eyes, heart shaped face. Small to normal sized lips that are usually chapped. Weak left hand due to childhood trauma. A scar on her left arm because of falling off a bicycle and a scar on her right arm because of a cat scratch. Multiple scrapes can be seen on her hands because of her love of cats. Nails are short and uneven, with chipped nail polish. Lots of bruises are on her legs. Wears mainly black leggings and skinny jeans and casual tee-shirts and doesn’t do anything with her hair.

    Personality traits
    *Smart: she is in all of the advanced classes and is easily one of the smartest kids in her advanced math class. She loves math out of all of her school subjects. Isabella also won her hall for the Geography Bee and got second place in her hall for the spelling bee. She took many IQ tests that tell her that she probably has an IQ of 140 to maybe 150, and at age 6 had an IQ of 120.
    *Pretty: She has been told on numerous occasions that she is pretty and Isabella denies the comments, but deep down, she sometimes believes them.
    *Shy/socially awkward: She had grown up in an abusive household with almost no contact of the outside world so she has very little social skills. She has a hard time making friends and is very meek and submissive. Isabella is also stubborn with the fact that “just because you asked them if I could sit with them doesn’t mean that they want me to!!!!!!!!!!! >:(”
    *Mentally unstable(you get what I mean, has a lot of mental disorders): Isabella has multiple mental disorders, along with anxiety, depression, OCD and PTSD. This mostly affects her daily and causes her to need multiple pills every day. Her depression can make her seem moody but she is really a good person. Isabella’s anxiety and PTSD make her think that everyone is talking about her, and on rare occasions(along with stress) can make her have a flashback which Isabella cannot control.
    *Animal loving: Isabella loves cats and owns two of her own. She cuddles with them every night and can often be seen with cat hair all over her pants and cat backgrounds on her phone.
    *Kind: She once put hundreds(or maybe a thousand, I don’t know) of kind post-it-notes on people’s lockers at school for no reason, except for “I just want people to, you know, feel kindness”.
    *Bullied(something like that): Isabella is bullied and has been for a long time. She has had everything from horrible name calling that caused her to lock herself into the bathroom crying, to hearing rumors about her that she “was sobbing to herself like a crazy person”, to getting a concussion because somebody whipped a dodgeball at her face.

    Anyway, yeah. I just got creative and wanted to add this.

  170. goddess7533on 09 Apr 2019 at 9:16 pm

    so i started working on a couple story ideas…

    1. sci-fi, set sometime in the future?

    main character:

    Name: Karolina “Karol” Vesta Rosenfield
    Alias: Vesta Thornton, Miss Patriot, Crimson, Lady Cyborg
    Age: 15
    Hair: Red-gold, once thigh length, now cut short, wavy
    Skin: Light
    Eyes: One brown with flecks of gold (right), one fully gold (left)
    Characteristics: Snarky, stubborn, loyal, will legitimately not back down from a fight, has a both figurative and literal heart of gold (her heart is cyborg), is very cynical, often is mistaken as uncaring because she hides her true personality
    Little habits: Bites her nails when scared, if she gets nervous you can tell because her cyborg heart beats louder, wears the largest earrings you can possibly think of, great at lying, but hates doing it, can come up with an excuse on the spot if needed, very good at bluffing, but has a sucky poker face

    2. fantasy, going with the idea that your reflection is also a person and meant to protect you from going into the mirror world

    character 1: normal girl:
    Name: Kallisto “Kalli” Acantha Eliades
    Alias: Character girl, Kal
    Age: 17
    Hair: Brown hair,
    Skin: Olive-tanned
    Eyes: Glimmering sapphire blue.
    Characteristics: Bold, very honest in a nice way, sometimes puts herself down if she’s having a bad day, caring, kind to almost everybody, intelligent, creative, daydreamer (only when she has a really good idea for something), always hopeful, very calm and stable, gracious, strong-minded, a little messy when it comes to her workspace, meticulous, very sensitive to the world, observant, orchard child, deft on her feet, witty.
    Little habits: She taps her fingers on the table/desk/chair when extremely worried, always crosses her legs when sitting down if she is deep in thought, digs fingernails into palms when annoyed/angry, ties her hair into twin buns when she’s determined to get a task completed, plays with loose strands of hair when she’s bored, plays the piano/takes nature walks/takes pictures when she wants to clear her mind,

    character 2: the reflection:
    Name: Odessa “Dess” Elizabeth D’Latienne
    Alias: Elizabeth Malinsky, Mirror Girl, Beth Sevastopo
    Age: 17
    Hair: Faded light brown
    Skin: Light olive
    Eyes: Faded light blue
    Characteristics: Charismatic, arrogant, sweet-talker, can be haughty, but also very kind, very good w secrets, old-fashioned, caring, snarky, brave, can literally convince anyone to do anything, great at public speaking, also she is awesome at twisting people around to her views, really stubborn, usually quite independent, speaks her mind, but is still polite, she’s a realist, sometimes overly negative, but still, really charming, and self confident, loves to mess with people, but she can be a touch disagreeable when you get on her nerves, really self-critical though.
    Little habits: She braids strands of her hair when nervous, quirking an eyebrow to express disdain, little twitches of her mouth when you’ve made her amused, excellent poker face, when she is stressed/injured an old limp in her right leg acts up.

    are these good? what should i do to make them better?

    thanks y’all

  171. B. McKenzieon 11 Apr 2019 at 10:51 pm

    Hey goddess! Here are some ideas:

    –I’d recommend working on one story at a time. It’s easier to complete something.

    –When you explain the story to publishers or readers, I’d generally suggest a more plot-centric approach. Describing major character decisions and plot events helps develop characterization more than listing character traits develops the plot. Also, I’d suggest deprioritizing demographic traits and what the characters look like unless it significantly develops plot or characters.

    –“very good at bluffing, but has a sucky poker face”. I’d recommend going starker on characterization, especially when you’re explaining the story to a new reader or prospective publisher. I think “very good at bluffing” is a more interesting starting point than a more equivocal “very good at X but also very bad at a major part of X”.

    –“honest in a nice way… kind to almost everybody” — this suggests to me that the character will probably be low-conflict/relatively agreeable. If I could make a characterization suggestion, I think characters more open to conflict/disapproval usually make it easier to write interesting scenes.

    –I’d suggest going with at most one special alias for a character. Of these, I prefer Crimson to Lady Cyborg or Miss Patriot because Crimson sounds smoothest/easiest to work into conversation. (And the most like it was created by a character rather than an author or a copywriter).

    –“sometimes puts herself down if she’s having a bad day” — Unless you’ve seen a lot of unconfident protagonists in your genres, I would guess this would make the character less likely to have interesting scenes than a more typically confident protagonist.

  172. Ladyon 20 May 2019 at 3:35 pm

    So I’ve been really thinking about my main characters and I wanted to see what people think and what could be improved.

    Verity is the protagonist. She is languid (or is it lazy? She struggles with motivation at first), disinterested in pretty much anything but avenging her dead brother (single-minded? This is her motivation), loyal, has a loose set of morals, and intelligent. I feel like I gave her too many negative traits. Will that make her unlikable? She’s going to grow throughout the story. I’m thinking the power of increased good luck and some generic physical powers.

    Ash is a main character and has a future relationship with the protagonist. He’s upright, stubborn, just, helpful, and impulsive. He has control over nature and plants, super strength, and durability.

    Jake is a main character romantically interested in the protagonists. Poor guy doesn’t stand a chance. He is confident, moody, dangerous, rebellious, and driven. Your cliche bad boy.

    The villain has a typical set of traits and has the power to inflict bad luck on others. I am hesitant on that though cause I think he could pose a challenge even without it, but I’m not sure what powers to give him though.

    I also need idea for a power for Jake and superhero/villain names for all of them. Can I get some help?

  173. Cat-Vacuumer Supremeon 28 May 2019 at 12:01 pm

    For Verity, either languid or lazy could work. Do you think the negative aspects of her personality overshadow the positive ones? She could still be a likable and relatable character, but it’s hard to tell without seeing how she acts as a whole. Verity could simply base her name on her luck powers, if she’s lazy when choosing a name. She could be Fortune, Fortuna, Auspice, or Felix (from Latin for lucky).

    It’s neat that you’re not going for the typical chill, wise nature-powered character. What kind of relationship does he have with Verity? Ash’s name could be some kind of tree, or maybe Carbon (since it’s in a lot of organics, and is strong).

    Is Jake anything beyond cliches? What role does he play on the team? Or is he on his own? He could teleport (spy on people, be really hard to attack directly), be an empath, or have a dangerous and flashy power (like fire or electricity), or a more “dark” power (something to do with shadows, necromancy, or other dark magic).

    If you give the villain bad luck powers, what does a confrontation between him and Verity (with her good luck powers) look like? Why would he be a challenge without his bad luck power? Is he smart? Well-connected? Does he have another superpower?

  174. Castleon 06 Sep 2019 at 7:59 pm

    I’m looking for some input on my protagonists for a superhero group.

    Character 1 – Female – A brave and spirited girl, with a strong sense of self-confidence and determination that keep her from backing down from a challenge. She is charismatic and is alluring enough to make friends with nearly everyone she meets, which allows her to be inspirational or influential. The character is also optimistic and looks for the good in all situations and people, but often finds this naïve outlook doesn’t lead to the best outcome. Her strong relationship with people and her determination often cause her to become invasive in other’s lives and disregard personal boundaries.

    Character 2 – Male – This character is a very boisterous young man. He is lively, mischievous and jovial, often to the annoyance of others. Despite his excited personality, he is pretty laidback and is level-headed in dangerous situations. The combination of his humorous and mellow personality often causes him to come across as lazy or immature, but he is more concerned with bringing levity to life. Like Character 1, his cheerful personality makes him approachable to others, but not to the same degree.

    Character 3 – Female – This character is kind of conflicting. On one hand, she is mature and perceptive, with a strong emotional understanding of others. She is very altruistic and has a strong desire to help those less fortunate. However, on the other hand, she can be abrasive. She is often very blunt when speaking and is bitingly sarcastic towards others. She is often suspicious of others unless her instincts tell her otherwise or the individual earns her trust.

    Character 4 – Male – The fourth protagonist is confident in himself to the point of arrogance. Having quick wit and an analytical mind, he comes across as overconfident and haughty. He is often resentful of others that rival his capabilities and believes he would be a more effective leader than character 1. When interested or invested in something, he becomes very zealous and becomes fixated on that subject until he tires of it. This brings out a less serious and more “dorky.”

    Character 5 – Male – The fifth and final protagonist is a very shy and reserved individual, often sticking to the background of the group’s antics. Under his rather quiet exterior is an extremely anxious and insecure individual who deals with extreme self-esteem issues. He is pretty awkward but is more comfortable and talkative when it’s just the other four around. He is also highly imaginative, using his creativity as an outlet for his internal conflict and helps to give different viewpoints when facing obstacles.

    Any thoughts? Some of the personalities are derived from more common archetypes, but I’m working to try and separate them and make them more individual and memorable. I appreciate any and all suggestions and constructive criticism.

  175. B. McKenzieon 06 Sep 2019 at 9:36 pm

    Castle, could you cover the plot here? That’d probably give a better idea of how characters act (e.g. major decisions) and interact than personality summaries. It might also help in cases where the personality traits SEEM off but are executed in a promising way. For example, Wonder Woman has some personality traits that seem like a weird combination or even contradictory (e.g. “how can a serious warrior also be naive?”) but actually seeing the plot as executed, it feels 100% natural and probably necessary. Or vice versa: a 2-3 summary of Green Lantern’s personality would probably include some of the same traits as Iron Man’s (irresponsible, brash, extremely egotistical, tend to handle serious situations with levity, etc), but the plotting works much better for Iron Man. For example, Iron Man succeeds at major high-stakes challenges early in the plot, whereas Green Lantern botches challenges early and often, which makes GL’s high level of self-regard vastly less likeable.

    Also, character interactions. It’s hard to guess how characters will interact based on just personality traits. E.g. if I had a personality summary of Captain Marvel, the two main characters, Captain Marvel and Maria, have unusually similar personalities and backgrounds, which might hamper their ability to have interesting scenes together. In contrast, Peter Quill and Rocket *also* have similar personalities in Guardians of the Galaxy, but their scenes together are much better (e.g. because they have a much higher level of conflict, they’re both unusually charismatic, etc).

  176. Castleon 07 Sep 2019 at 9:19 am

    Plot summary:

    Five years before the story, the five characters gained superpowers after breaking into a laboratory located near their hometown. I’m not sure how much description to put into this, such as each character’s motivations for deciding to join in on the breaking and entering, but I’ll keep this brief and provide more details as needed. They decided to use their new superpowers to prevent the source of their powers from being distributed after it is stolen by a criminal party (not very original, but since it is the backstory/origin, I don’t know if it needs to be overly fresh). They learned that Character 4’s older brother also gained powers after following the group up to the laboratory, and he joined them. They attempted and failed to take out the criminals before they could empower members of their gang and stage a prison break, and the brother is killed in the battle. The government intervened and caught most of the prisoners before their powers manifested. The group splits as a result, with only Character 1 deciding to remain a crime fighter.

    In the present, individuals with superpowers are more widespread throughout the city, as the lab’s experiments spread after a portion of it was misplaced by the criminals. These powered individuals used their abilities to further careers, gain fame, fight crime, or become criminals. After fighting several criminals and watching them be arrested and taken away, only to confront them freed and even more powerful, Character 1 must gather her old team together to try and fight the villains and figure out the mystery of their increasing powers.

    The plot is kind of lackluster, but I think I’m looking to have a more character driven story. The relationships and interactions will also be a source of conflict. Character 1 and 4 butt heads over who should lead the team, as they were the two who didn’t get along the best before the previous events, and Character 1 was dating Character 4’s brother. Character 3 and 4 were also in a relationship, which ended badly after the brother’s death. Character 3 and 2’s interactions are a strong source of vitriol due to their opposing personalities. Character 5 is unstable and provides possible liabilities to the group, but his powers are essential to helping keep the group and civilians safe. Character 3 is reluctant to rejoin the fight, but her powers are also helpful to the group. The group of friends have to learn to mend their relationships and work together.

    Does this help? Again, any suggestions and constructive criticisms are greatly appreciated.

  177. B. McKenzieon 07 Sep 2019 at 4:42 pm

    1. I’d recommend integrating the conflict between characters 1 and 4 more into the central plot. For example, maybe they have significantly different or conflicting strategies for what the team needs to be doing to identify/solve what’s going on or how the party should interact with a particular character/group.

    2. I’d recommend bringing in more players outside of the team, e.g. to give characters 1 and 4 something to disagree over. E.g. the lab seems like a promising option. Maybe the lab is a somewhat-agreeable actor which is attempting to fix the problem in its own way, and maybe character 1 is opposed to the lab’s methods whereas character 4 thinks that they’ve been more successful than the group to date. Character 4 might be more receptive to providing some assistance the lab has requested whereas character 1 might be opposed (maybe on short-term considerations like whether it’ll be effective against the criminals, maybe on long-term considerations like “the lab is borderline shady and helping them could lead to all sorts of problems after this crime spree has ended”). Character 4 is confident, analytical and haughty, and with this personality profile, if you were interested in having the lab as a player, maybe character 4 has worked for the lab or maybe he has some sort of family connection through his brother.

    3. The plot summary above mentions that superpowered criminals are getting “freed and more powerful than before.” Freed how? Maybe prosecutions are failing for some reason and arrested criminals are going free. (Why? Maybe the gang is engaging in juror intimidation, witness tampering, breaking into police facilities to destroy evidence, etc.) Alternately, maybe the prosecutions are failing for some other reason — e.g. someone besides the gang is interfering. Maybe there’s another player who has a motive to cause chaos and/or weaken public trust in the police and superheroes? I’m thinking there might be opportunities for outside players like additional criminals and maybe law enforcement and lab as well.

    4. The police might be pursuing a major case in a completely wrong or mostly wrong direction. The first thing that comes to mind (rarely the best option) would be the police have very strong reason to suspect someone innocent of being involved in a crime. Theoretically the wrongfully accused person might be a member of the team but my instinct is that it’d probably be more interesting if it were someone else, maybe someone that has a connection to the team. What about the dead brother? Maybe the dead brother was working at the lab, and the police wrongfully suspect that he was involved in the superpowers getting loose in the first place, and maybe the brother genuinely did have some risk factors for acting unreliably at work (e.g. he really was unhappy there, he really did have ethical concerns (which might be why he came to the team rather than his company or the authorities when there was a problem), he did have financial troubles that the police suspect are a motive to sell a keycard or some other sort of assistance to the gang, maybe the brother dies in a way that a police officer misinterprets as “maybe the gang murdered him because he knew too much” whereas most team members think that it could have been any of them that died. What potential benefits might there be to having the police suspect the brother? Among other things, it’d give character 4 and 1 a reason to conflict. Character 4’s main motive might be clearing his brother’s name, whereas character 4 prioritize other parts of the case and/or might be open to the police interpretation that the brother really was acting weirdly.

    5. Another way the police might pursue a case in a wrong way would be not grasping that a major player is involved (e.g. a criminal mastermind, a criminal who’s indirectly benefiting from the crimes, a witness on the run, the lab, etc). Alternately, maybe the police mistakenly think that someone IS involved (e.g. if the brother doesn’t fit this role, maybe they suspect the lab of at least gross negligence and have antagonized the lab so much that the lab is not cooperating with the authorities at all for now or maybe actively hiding evidence to protect itself). Alternately, the police might wrongfully suspect someone on the team, but as mentioned above, my instinct here is not favorable. (E.g. not enough similarities between the antagonists and any of the protagonists or other points of protagonist unreliability for this to work*).

    *In contrast, if SHIELD and the Avengers are working on a case against Loki, there’d be room for concern that Thor is Loki’s brother and has a soft spot for him. SHIELD might insist that Thor be held from the case, which causes a conflict between SHIELD and the Avengers and maybe some secondary conflict between the Avengers and Thor. E.g. if I were an Avenger that stuck out my neck to insist to SHIELD that Thor is reliable, if Thor actually DOES act unreliable towards Loki or try to let him off with a warning, there’d be room for conflict with Thor… and anyone on the Avengers who does not see there genuinely is a problem here whether or not they think SHIELD is wrong to tell us how to run our side of this case).

    6. Character #5 is “a very shy and reserved individual, often sticking to the background of the group’s antics. Under his rather quiet exterior is an extremely anxious and insecure individual who deals with extreme self-esteem issues… high imaginative… different viewpoints when facing obstacles”). I like the idea of a character being highly imaginative and having a different approach to obstacles, I think that’s promising. The extreme anxiety/insecurity is pretty far outside of expected protagonist behavior, and might make the character unlikable. I’d have to check how this character executes his scenes, but my instinct here is that this character probably won’t contribute as much to interesting scenes as the others. I anticipate this character’s personality will push teammates into “get it together” exchanges that 1) don’t give other teammates much interesting to interact with and 2) leave readers wondering why he made the cut to be in the story. For one live example of how even a very well-written story can have issues with this, I’d suggest looking at Thor’s role in Endgame – there are probably 5+ moments where Thor’s sniveling causes characters to awkwardly exchange bewildered glances because there’s nothing interesting for them to say.

    Some additional points, mainly for other writers: If any character raises issues of “should you even be on this team?” (e.g. by acting far outside of the typical range of heroic behavior), it’s always strongly advantageous if readers and at least some teammates agree that there’s some reason to have him on the team. In addition, if you have a “should you even be on this team?” character, it’d generally help if they are highly committed to the mission. A “should you even be on this team?” conflict would probably be low-energy and weak as hell if even the character in question isn’t sure he should be on the team – e.g. see Far From Home. In contrast, Thor fighting to be on the Loki case would have much more energy and more room for conflict that doesn’t force readers to ask “why are you even in this story?” compared to a protagonist like Peter Parker whose main role is being not good enough.

  178. Castleon 07 Sep 2019 at 7:34 pm

    I had a longer response types up, but the page had an error, and I lost it. Hopefully I’ll remember the important points I was going to include.

    1. A little more backstory on the powers. The lab was delving into research in combining human DNA with that of more hardy/adaptive species to cure disease, fight aging, etc.. They ended up creating a new organism that bonds with human hosts. When bonding, the creature alters the host’s DNA to “adapt to survive,” however, the adaptations are a little more extreme. For example, the creature might give a homeless person the ability to manipulate fire, rather than just adapt to resist extreme temperatures due to frigid winter weather. The brother had the ability to augment others’ powers when he is in physical contact with them – the logic of why he would need the ability is something I’m working on. The lab also discovered that after the creature bonds to a host, it assimilates their DNA, and even if the host is killed it will survive. The surviving organism can then be used by others to simulate the power. When the brother was killed, his body was torn apart. Because the increased power of the criminals seems related to the brother’s power, Characters 1 and 4 conflict over opposing ideas and methods. Character 1 has come to terms with the brothers death and just wants to stop the empowered supervillains and solve the mystery, while Character 4 is motivated out of revenge for his brother.

    2. Ultimately, I feel the criminal ring was thought up as a way to get the organisms released to the public and was considering writing them out. However, I agree that having other parties helps elevate the conflict, but I wonder if using the lab instead would work. Originally, I was going to have a research assistant share the lab’s research with the government after being threatened by the criminals, but having the brother be a possible intern might help the story and provide him with more character depth. Character 4 could believe the lab had something to do with his death as they feared he would be a whistleblower.

    3.-5. Originally, I was going to have the police be privy to the release of the villains, but a corrupt police force is overdone. Possibly having individual(s) with ulterior motive be on the police force or work in a position where they can tamper with evidence or manipulate witnesses might work better. This would be in connection to the mystery of the brother’s powers.

    6. Character 5 was conceived as the cousin of Character 4 who didn’t fit the traditional hero mold. When I envisioned the character, I pictured him as someone who is more reserved to others, with a slight bit of awkwardness, but internally he is a mess of anxiety and insecurity. He was also the last one to see the brother alive, and the resulting death caused his inner struggles to come to a head, and he has a mental breakdown. Before the events, he was much more grounded when he was with his friends, and because of this, he serves as a way to get the team back together in order to try an help him find some stability. He then fights to help the group in order to avoid losing them again and prove his worth. This causes conflict, as the other members of the group have different opinions on the situation. Should he rejoin because his powers make him an asset, or should he be relegated to the sidelines until he gets better to avoid being a liability. Should he rejoin for his own mental health, or will including him risk making him worse. I think questioning whether he should be on the team provides conflict within the story, so I don’t know if it helps justify it externally. Having him possibly be witness to the brother’s death but be unable to recall what happened due to his mental state. However, I think this might push him into being more of a plot device than a character.

    Thank you for your above comments! I appreciate your input, and hopefully I provided more context to the story.

  179. Castleon 10 Sep 2019 at 6:06 pm

    Also, with five central protagonists, how many other parties should I limit myself to? The police, some criminal element, whether it be the ring or individual criminals, and the lab create plenty of conflicting forces. However, trying to juggle a limited social circle for the group, which will have to be narrowed from the new lives they have formed in the five years, might prove a little much to handle.

  180. B. McKenzieon 11 Sep 2019 at 5:24 pm

    In a (say) 70,000 – 80,000 word novel with 5 lead characters, if you see an interesting opportunity somewhere, you’ll probably have some room to explore. How much exploring you do with how many side characters, I think that depends on 1) what you want to write and 2) what you discover while doing so. On a first draft, I’d suggest keeping your eyes open for expansion opportunities and casting a wide net. Once you’ve finished a draft, it’s much easier to tell what is or is not worth its space.

    PS: Not as much an issue for a novel with a team this size, but for comic writers and/or large teams, early on I’d suggest focusing on side-characters that are able to have conversations with most of the teammates, and preferably contribute in ways that a main character cannot. (E.g. on a large team, I think a member of some major group or someone who has something that affects many characters would probably be easier to incorporate in interesting ways than, say, a love interest that has scenes with one of the characters without much effect on the central plot). E.g. if you’ve seen Endgame, having 1-2 scenes with the Ancient One made sense even if Dr. Strange was missing (e.g. she presents a significantly different obstacle than we see in the other missions*, and the scene helps Hulk growing past just running at enemies really hard).

    *Not just a persuasion scene, but a persuasion scene where neither altruism nor coercion are effective. It’s a cool concept (and generally well-executed, though the winning move should probably have been bigger/harder than just mentioning that she should give over the Time Stone because it’s part of Dr. Strange’s plan).

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