Positive Character Traits And Why They Are Essential

POSTED ON Apr 10, 2023

Jackie Pearce

Written by Jackie Pearce

Home > Blog > Fiction, Writing > Positive Character Traits And Why They Are Essential

When it comes to coming up with characters for your book, you will need to give them traits that make up who they are.

Choosing which positive character traits to give them might be harder to choose than the negative ones.

Character traits are important to pick because they often are the ways you can help navigate your story and decide what action your characters will take in any given situation.

If you are looking for ideas for positive character traits, we will be going over what they are, why they matter, how you can use them, and then going through a list of potential traits you can give your characters.

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What Are Character Traits?

Character traits are the words that describe a character's personality and the qualities that make them who they are.

For example, when you think of Superman, you probably think of character traits such as bravery, courage, and calm energy.

They are descriptive adjectives, which can help you write your character because it can help you make sure your character stays in line with the traits you chose for them.

You can also tie their character traits into some of their physical traits, like how they look, what clothes they choose to wear, where they live, what hobbies they choose, and so on.

Why Do Character Traits Matter?

Character traits help you keep your different characters in line with what you choose for them.

Following the example above of Superman, imagine if there was a fight breaking out on a street and Superman ran away. That would not work because it goes against his character traits.

When you know what character traits your characters have, it will help you steer the plot and have your characters make decisions that are in line with who they are.

Having a variety of character traits can also humanize them as well. It is a good idea to give the hero some negative traits or weaknesses and give the villain some positive traits. It helps make them both more grounded and adds some depth to who they are in the story.

Fleshing out your character traits in advance as an author can help you keep your characters cohesive as well in their choices. If you have a character who makes a few brave choices but then is scared for the rest of the book (without a particular reason), your readers will start to have doubts about how fluid your story is.

How To Include Character Traits

Now, as the author, you rarely want to come out and say your character is something like friendly.

Instead, you will want to show it and demonstrate it through their actions and their choices throughout your book.

For example, if one of your characters is intelligent, you will want to put them in situations or conversations where they demonstrate their intelligence. You do not want them to just walk around telling people how smart they are.

Instead, they will be able to use reasoning and smart choices as they move throughout the plot of the book.

Your readers should also pick up on some character traits based on the dialogue between them and other characters, as well.

There are also some traits that are positive or negative, depending on the situation your characters come across. For example, being shy could be a good or a bad thing.

Keep in mind, if you want your character to experience personal growth, you can also have them change traits through the story. For example, the character who was nefer brave suddenly becomes brave due to circumstances outside of their control.

Positive Character Traits

While most of us know the negative character traits well, such as being jealous, mean, or vengeful, it is a good idea to give some of your characters positive character traits so you can humanize them or show that they are the hero.

Positive traits can help give your characters something to bond over as well. For example, two optimistic characters might be drawn to each other and want to spend more time together. Or two intelligent characters might bond over their own mental discoveries. Two other very purpose-driven individuals may bond over similar character motivations.

If you have been on the hunt for positive character traits, here are some examples of ones you could choose to use for your character.

A longer list of ideas when it comes to positive character traits:

  • Kindness
  • Noble
  • Generosity
  • Committed
  • Empathy
  • Brave
  • Calming
  • Stable
  • Funny
  • Forgiving
  • Courageous
  • Helpful
  • Loving
  • Romantic
  • Reliable
  • Trustworthy
  • Direct
  • Sociable
  • Independent
  • Spontaneous
  • Intelligent
  • Enthusiastic
  • Flexible
  • Tough
  • Tolerant
  • Clever
  • Hard-working
  • Confident
  • Decisive
  • Adventurous
  • Sincere
  • Peaceful
  • Humble
  • Honest
  • Passionate

Examples of Character Traits

Let's go over some famous characters in books to show you what kind of positive traits they have.

Keep in mind, most characters have a good blend of good and bad traits, but getting an idea of how other authors have done it can help you navigate your own characters.

Jay Gatsby from The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Gatsby is either a good or a bad character based on who you ask, but it is undeniable that he is a dreamer. He thinks he can work hard and create a better life for himself. At the same time, this is part of the reason for his downfall, but it is one of his main traits along with being a determined human (or maybe some would say stubborn).

Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Elizabeth Bennet is a steadfast character that is also independent, bold, intelligent, and witty. She does not brag about any of her positive character traits, but she is put in many positions to have to demonstrate these traits.

Atticus Finch from To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Atticus is a kind man who is also compassionate, strong, moral, and understanding. He knows his client is innocent and he will do everything in his power to help him.

We see his character traits through his choices and his actions. We see how he is steadfast in his beliefs and his choices, which is why is an admirable character.

Sherlock Holmes from The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle

Even people who have not read these books know about how brilliant and witty Sherlock Holmes is. He is a true mastermind of solving crimes and uses his mind to crack cases that no one else could solve.

Sure, he has a bit of an ego, but as we talked about before, the best characters have a mix of good and bad to make them more human.

Need More Help?

Looking for deeper help with your character development? Our character bio template and character development sheet is exactly what you need to make sure you have well-rounded characters.

After all, good characters are most of the battle when it comes to making a successful book. When you have good characters, you will naturally attract more readers who love your books.

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