Thursday, February 14, 2013

Identifying Your Characters' Strengths

by Stephanie Morrill

I feel like I should have planned some sort of love post for today ... but I didn't. The Go Teen Writers newsletter this month, however, was about falling in love with writing, so I did do something holiday related. Just not on the actual holiday.

Instead I want to talk about character strengths. Here's a fun list of strengths that you can use for helping to deepen current characters, create new characters, or to flesh out the rest of the cast. Like, wouldn't it be interesting if your main character and the villain had the same strengths?

Adventurous
Athletic
Brave
Calm
Capable
Caring
Cheerful
Considerate
Courageous
Creative
Dedicated
Determined
Devoted
Easygoing
Efficient
Encouraging
Energetic
Fair
Flexible
Forgiving
Friendly
Frugal
Funny
Gentle
Gracious
Hardworking
Helpful
Honest
Hospitable
Imaginative
Intelligent
Kind
Loving
Loyal
Mature
Organized
Positive
Protective
Reflective
Reliable
Resilient
Resourceful
Responsible
Sensitive
Servant-hearted
Spontaneous
Supportive
Talented
Thoughtful
Trustworthy
Warm
Wise

If you're working on a book now, what are three strengths of your main character? For my current project, Ellie is hardworking, intelligent, and reflective.

39 comments:

  1. Let's see...Ryu is cheerful, easy-going, and friendly; and Beth is responsible, mature, and kind. :)

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  2. Let's see. My character is courageous and determined. I'm also going to add reckless to this list :) Great post! I've been noticing that all my MCs have the same strengths and personalities. I'm working on changing that, so I'll definitely come back to this post a lot.

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  3. Wow, I'm most of the C's (along with others. :P)! How funny xD

    Hmm. Hope is protective, determined, and spontaneous, I'd say. And just for fun, I'll throw in another character who's pretty important in my book: Grace. She's sensitive, gentle, and caring. :)

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  4. I'd say Willow is determined, courageous, and protective. :) She has a pretty hard shell on the outside, but she has a heart of gold.

    Piper♥

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  5. What a great idea, Stephanie. This list is great! Gwen is brave, determined, and hardworking, while Ronan is honest, loyal, and resourceful. I made a list of good and bad character qualities, and its fun to read down the list and pick out two or three good qualities and the bad qualities that go hand in hand.

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  6. Athur is determined, dedicated and intelligent. Also belligerent, insensitive, and selfish. Annette is strong, caring and loving. Also fearful, too sensitive and obsessively responsible

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  7. Briar is determined, brave, and sensitive. Kade is resourceful, honest, and dedicated. My villain, Sachio, is resouceful, imaginative, and determined. Hey, shared traits!

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  8. Well Avery is courageous, a realist, and a fighter. Her unfailing loyalty can bring problems and she's very untrusting. Oliver is reckless, generous, and perpetually positive. His combination of reckless generosity leads to trouble and he's far too trusting. I like this list, it gives me ideas I hadn't thought of. Thanks!

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  9. I'm always having trouble with showing these strengths in my novels. My characters all sound the same in the end - Their trait doesn't show out. (Am I making sense?)
    Any suggestions?
    ~ AC

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    1. I'm no professional but in my writing and even in real life I think people's traits are best shown through what they do and say. If I want to show outlook on life (optimist, realist) I can typically make that known through dialogue. If I want to show a trait like leadership, I would make one character that all my other characters (whether consciously or not) look up to for advice and decisions to be made. Actions speak louder than words, so your generous character would be more likely to be the person always lending out money or pencils or gum, and your caring character would often be the one trying to be positive and include everyone. Sometimes you can have other characters notice a trait and mention it, or your dialogue tags can make traits more obvious to the reader. Then maybe your qualities will stand out more. That's just what I try to do. Hope it helps!

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    2. Thankyou, that's very helpful. :)
      ~ AC

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    3. Great advice, Kaitlin! I couldn't have said it better :)

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  10. Three strengths of my main character:
    Adventurous
    Athletic
    Brave :)

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  11. My main character is cheerful, loving, creative, and energetic. She's working on thoughtful and resilient.

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  12. Yet again, proof I'm going to like Ellie. :)

    In my WIP, my MMC is brave, capable, and (overly) protective. And he and the villain have the same *virtues,* which is pretty fun. :)

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    1. Yes, I think you and Ellie will get along quite well :)

      Very fun! And I think it's interesting to consider how good qualities can swing bad. Like brave can sometimes edge on reckless or capable can turn into controlling, you know?

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  13. I'd say my character is Brave, athletic, and determined!
    Thanks Stephanie! I'll be sure to use these for planning!!

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  14. My main character (whose name is also Ellie)is brave, determined, and resilient.
    My villain is calm, capable, and determined. Both of them are equally very determined, if not stubborn, which makes things very interesting at times lol.

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    1. SWEET! Another Ellie!

      I love the idea of a villain who's calm. Very nice!

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  15. My main character, Elliot, is honest, artistic and loyal to those who are close to him.

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  16. The main character in my current WIP is Alora Charlaine Jacobs. Three of her strengths would have to be; Resilient, hardworking, and impulsive.

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  17. My main character's strengths are that she's imaginative, determined, and adventurous.
    As usual, perfect timing with the post - yesterday I was started listing my character's traits to help me with characterisation and a list like this will be really helpful.

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  18. Nice post! :D Bryce is resilient, brave and determined and Caleb is resourceful, intelligent and kind. :)

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  19. My main character is probably resourceful, organised (also OCD) and efficient. I'm working on giving her a bit of a softer side, though. ;)

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    1. I bet she's super fun, though! I love main characters who need softening :)

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  20. I find these SO interesting, especially when it comes to contrasting characters and their relationship in the story.

    My MC, Kell, is Protective, Devoted and Wise.
    My ally, his younger brother Jo, is Energetic, Encouraging and Honest.

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  21. This is awesome! My main character, Jane, is devoted, energetic and cheerful. =)

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  22. Layla speaking. My main character Julius is mature, brave and trustworthy.

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  23. My mc, Lexi, is sensitive, kind, and reflective. Though her strengths are also her weaknesses.

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  24. Hmm Nira is determined, courageous and resilient

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  25. Delta, the MC of my current project, is brave, determined, and protective. I think I'm going to keep lists of my characters' strengths in order to keep them consistent. Great idea!

    Also, a strength doesn't always have to be a strength. For instance, one of Delta's strengths is that she's determined, which frequently gets her through bad situations, but it also gets her into trouble when she determines to do something and doesn't think it through. It adds another layer of depth to the character (and the story) when one of the character's strengths gets them into trouble.

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  26. I'd say Elric, one of my MC's is intelligent, thoughtful, and sensitive. It sounds odd for a guy, maybe, but that's the point. He isn't his younger brother, Arran who is athletic, brave, and talented. ;)

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