Inspiration Decks Character Traits 5 min2024-08-23 00:00

Character Traits

Character Traits

Thoughtfully crafting distinctive character traits is essential for you to create strong characterization and compelling narratives. The traits assigned to characters reveal essential personality, inform relationships and drive conflict, motivate pivotal actions and decisions, generate reader empathy, and shape growth arcs. By establishing a mix of familiar, admirable, flawed and contrasting traits, you breathe life into characters, making them believable, consistent, and complex. Readers become invested in watching how a character's core traits influence and change through events. Masterful characterization through impactful traits allows you to craft protagonists who resonate with readers, drive dynamic storytelling, and ultimately leave a lasting impact.

Positive Character Traits

Positive Character Traits

Integrating positive traits like courage, resilience, wit, and integrity allows you to craft uplifting protagonists that readers root for and emotionally connect with. Positive traits generate admiration for a character's spirit and values, driving investment in their journey. Flaws and challenges temper positive traits with realism, while growth of positive traits creates a satisfying character arc.

Dynamics between positive traits and negative environments/characters also fuel conflict and stakes. Specifically, positive traits like determination, optimism, and compassion make characters relatable and aspirational. They bring light to dark stories and inspire readers. Well-developed, balanced positive traits are crucial for you to create compelling heroes, endearing companions, or underdogs that readers actively hope and cheer for throughout the narrative.

Here is a list of positive character traits:

Note: Some character traits may be positive, negative, or neutral, depending on your point of view.

Emotional Qualities:

Intellectual Qualities:

Interpersonal Qualities:

Ethical Qualities:

Dynamic & Energetic Qualities:

Resilient & Steadfast Qualities:

Leadership & Influential Qualities:

Artistic & Expressive Qualities:

Admirable Personality:

Reliability & Trustworthiness:

Skill & Efficiency:

Openness & Adaptability:

Positive Outlook & Approach:

  • Positive

  • Uplifting

  • Well-balanced

You can also see our full list of positive character traits.

Negative Character Traits

Negative Character Traits

Thoughtfully integrating negative traits like selfishness, anger, cowardice, or recklessness allows you to craft complex antagonists and flawed protagonists that resonate. Negative traits like hubris, distrust, and obstinance can drive conflict, tension, and high stakes when characters clash or struggle internally. They add realism through relatable flaws and make resulting growth more profound. A negative trait that motivates a character's central mistake creates a redemption arc. Negative traits also elicit empathy for a misunderstood villain's motivations. Specifically, negative traits like insecurity, impulsiveness, and jealousy make characters seem humanly fallible. Most importantly, balancing negative traits with positive ones creates multidimensional, realistic characters. Well-developed negative traits are tools vital for you to build memorable villains, imperfect protagonists, and compelling character journeys.

Here is a list of negative character traits:

Note: Some character traits may be positive, negative, or neutral, depending on your point of view.

Emotional Instability:

Arrogance and Superiority:

Dishonesty and Deception:

Antisocial Behavior:

Judgemental and Close-Mindedness:

Inconsideration and Rudeness:

Laziness and Irresponsibility:

Insecurity and Lack of Confidence:

Pessimism and Negativity:

Impulsiveness and Lack of Self-Control:

Immaturity and Childishness:


  • Egocentric

  • Hedonistic

  • Self-centered

  • Self-destructive

  • Selfish

Odd and Strange Behavior:

Misguided Beliefs and Attitudes:

General Negative Attitude and Behavior:

Note: This category may contain words that don't fit precisely into the above categories or may overlap with more than one category.

You can also see our full list of negative character traits.


When sculpting compelling characters, you should draw upon the full spectrum of human traits. Both virtues and flaws equally contribute to realistic, intriguing characterizations. Noble traits like courage, resilience, and wisdom inspire readers while still allowing room for growth when tested. Negative traits like greed, cowardice, and cruelty conversely make villains chilling yet dimensional. Imperfect protagonists rendered with overarching kindness yet punctuated by believable faults and mistakes create complex redemption arcs.

All people exhibit an intricate blend of light and dark; effective writers reflect this. By embracing the rainbow of human traits and seamlessly weaving competing qualities within each character, you can craft authentic, complex players who propel the storytelling and leave a lasting mark. In the end, unforgettable characters are defined not by singular virtues or singular flaws, but multidimensional humanity.