Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Character Traits

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week, we’re talking about character traits. What makes a character compelling to read about? That’s a big question, but a unique and memorable personality definitely helps. Here are 10 personality traits that will make a character stick in my mind long after I close the book.

Favorite Character Traits

1. Intelligent

I like the smart ones. The ones who use their minds to solve problems (or to cause utter chaos. Whatever).

2. Selfish

Too much selfishness in a hero will get make me hate them, but a selfish villain is always interesting. They’ll throw anyone into harm’s way to get what they want. Selfishness makes for a tense plot.

3. Funny

I dislike incessant snark because it gets repetitive quickly, but if a character’s observations and cleverness can make me laugh, I’ll love them forever.

4. Untrustworthy

My favorite characters are the ones who have murky motives that don’t become clear until the end of the story. Whose side are they on? What’s driving their decisions? Can the reader trust them? I’ll keep reading to find out.

5. Passionate

Real people have passions, and fictional people should have them too. The passion can be for a hobby, a goal, a belief, a person. As long as the character cares about something, I’m intrigued.

6. Secretive

I’m curious. I want to know everything. If a character is hiding information, I’m going to keep reading until I learn the secret. (Or I’m going to flip to the end of the book and find the big reveal because I’m impatient.)

7. Charismatic

Everybody wishes they were more charismatic, right? I’m pretty sure I’m the complete opposite of charismatic. Who wouldn’t want to read about a charming, confident leader who always knows the right thing to say?

8. Insecure

The complete opposite of charismatic is interesting too, right? This trait is more relatable than charisma for me. I like reading about characters who don’t always feel great about themselves or their life choices.

9. Vulnerable

Okay, I realize that “vulnerable” is less of a character trait and more of a temporary situation. This list is hard, people! I’m struggling to come up with 10 traits. I want to read about characters who are willing to put everything on the line. They’re risking everything they’ve got. If something goes wrong, it’ll be catastrophic for them. I want that drama in my books!

10. Loyal

I love characters who are committed to someone or something. When a situation gets tough, they stick it out and see it through to the end. They don’t give up on their friends or their goals.

Which traits do you like to see in fictional people?


  1. Great list! I love what you said about passionate characters - when you have a character who doesn't really seem to care about anything, it makes them so hard to believe. I especially love characters who are passionate about something I know nothing about - it's such a fun way to learn something new!

  2. Intelligence was on my list as well.

    My TTT.

  3. Selfish villains are always great. I love your list!

  4. I love this list! I totally agree with secretive characters. I want to know EVERYTHING and I will read all night to find out what they're hiding.

  5. Interesting list. No surprise to see funny on this list of yours! Passion is such a good one also - agree.

  6. I agree with pretty much all of these. I find that most strong characteristics are interesting and draw me to a character (unless they are strongly unlikable!!).

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

  7. I love the selfish ones! I think a good teen protagonist especially, always needs to be a bit self-obsessed.

  8. That first meme almost made me nose my drink. Hilarious! It is so interesting how you flipped some traits, normally considered as negative, and turned them into positives.

  9. Ooh, secretive is a good one - especially when it pays off in the end!

  10. Love how varied your list is. Selfish and untrustworthy but also loyal and vulnerable.
    And I’m with Sam on that first meme... that is classic. :)

  11. I would agree with all of these traits. I think it depends on what kind of book I am reading. Intelligent and funny seems to work in just about any type of story though.

  12. A lot of these I LOVE! Especially funny. A funny character can improve even the dullest of books. And I like some of the things in villains ONLY of course! But you're spot on with the smart characters- I just can't with idiots. Villainous or heroic, they're always annoying!

  13. Oh my gosh these are the best. that first one made my day. :)

  14. I love your list! I prefer thinkers and planners, or characters with good negotiating skills to warriors and assassins. 👍✨

  15. I laughed at the second one. I never really thought about vampires like that!

  16. I would never have gone with untrustworthy AJ!!!! LOL

  17. This is a fantastic list. i want them to be flawed, but striving to be their best.

  18. You have a good list here. I like characters that are believable and funny. We need more laughs in this world!