characters / descriptors / writers resources

100+ Traits Your Character May Possess

Before I start a novel, I write a character review of each character so I get to know them. I want to know their physical appearance, their likes and dislikes, what their typical day is–that sort of information. I also want to know those intangible bits that truly make each person unique.

Here’s a list to consider as you get to know your characters. These type of traits will shape their actions and reactions throughout your plot:

  • absent-minded

    leadership traits

    Credit: Pew Research

  • active
  • affable
  • ambitious
  • amiable
  • animated
  • annoyed
  • argumentative
  • arrogant
  • attentive
  • decisive
  • babyish
  • dependable
  • bewildered
  • determined
  • bossy
  • candid
  • capable
  • care-free
  • careful
  • caustic
  • cautious
  • charismatic
  • charming
  • clever
  • cold-hearted
  • compassionate
  • complacent
  • conceited
  • concerned
  • confused
  • confident

    character traits

    Credit: Pew Research

  • considerate
  • cooperative
  • crafty
  • cruel
  • cultured
  • curious
  • determined
  • daring
  • demanding
  • doubtful
  • eager
  • easygoing
  • effervescent
  • efficient
  • embarrassed
  • excited
  • exuberant
  • fair
  • fanciful
  • fidgety
  • fighter
  • finicky
  • frank
  • fussy
  • facetious
  • generous
  • grumpy
  • loquacious
  • gentle
  • hard-working
  • harried
  • hardy
  • harsh
  • humorous
  • intelligent
  • intrepid
  • ill-bred
  • immature
  • impartial
  • impolite
  • impudent
  • impulsive
  • independent
  • industrious
  • inimitable
  • insolent
  • giddy
  • jealous
  • blasé
  • diligent
  • giving
  • jovial
  • boorish
  • discouraged
  • naive
  • hospitable
  • negligent
  • lucky
  • inventive
  • insipid
  • insistent
  • lackadaisical
  • leader
  • lovable
  • loyal reckless
  • relaxed
  • resourceful
  • restless
  • dutiful
  • malicious
  • mature
  • bossy
  • dishonest
  • glum
  • languid
  • disparaging
  • greedy
  • lively
  • busy
  • disrespectful
  • gregarious
  • logical
  • dissatisfied
  • grouchy

For a book of character traits, you might try Linda Edelstein’s Writers Guide to Character Traits. You might have better luck with it than I did. If you’re a highly-organized sort, you might enjoy pichu 4850’s character trait meme. Let me know if you find it helpful.

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10 thoughts on “100+ Traits Your Character May Possess

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  4. This is an impressive list of character traits. Love it. Do share!
    Where did you get the list or did you create it? This was very informative. 🙂
    Thanks,
    Elizabeth

    Like

    • I’m a collector. I have a Word table with about fifty rows for different designators I might like to use in my writing. I have clothing styles, facial gestures, dog activities, house descriptions, neighborhood descriptions, and more. They’re designed to jog my creativity if I feel dull. One is this long list of characteristics to remind me people are rarely unemotional. In a perfect writing world, they’d pop into my head at the right moment in a scene, but in reality, sometimes I struggle. Whatever works, huh?

      Like

      • Wat a great tool to use when wanting to mix things up a bit with your charachter…giving the female a few obviously male dominated traits will add a few ah ha! Thanks for this post!:)

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