Writer’s Guide to Character Traits

Okay so maybe I’m a little slow on the uptake–this book has a copyright date of 2006, but it was new to me when I plucked it off the shelf at Barnes and Noble a few weeks ago.

The Writer’s Guide to Character Traits, by Linda Edelstein, Ph.D (Writer’s Digest Books) is a treasure trove of information about personality types and the jobs they usually choose, their behaviors,  and most useful, their motivations. The author answers questions such as why don’t people leave a building when an alarm sounds? Why do people fail at keeping New Year’s resolutions? How does childhood poverty affect a person’s personality? Why do leaders of corporations fail? The answers can hep you go deeper into your characters’ back stories, personalities, and motivations.

The author also offers exercises to help learn how to put the information to work, and shares ideas to help in story development.

The book comprises fourteen chapters dealing with adult and child  personality types and traits, psychological disorders, love and marriage, familial issues, life events such as aging, bereavement and trauma, and others. A comprehensive index makes it easy to find information on whatever emotion and trait you need for your writing. Are you creating  a character who is unfailingly sarcastic? Seep page 23. A protagonist who is sensitive? Pages 26, 32, etc. Writing about a villain bent on revenge? Read about his personality beginning on page 102.

Whether you’re writing suspense, romance, sci-fi, women’s fiction, or childrens’ and YA books, this book will lead you to a deeper understanding of the characters you create.

Have you read this book? Did you find it useful? Leave a comment and let me know.

2 thoughts on “Writer’s Guide to Character Traits

  1. Cathy Richmond

    Have you read Do What You Are by Tieger? It ties professions to Myers-Briggs categories. If my character is in a certain profession, this book tells me what personality type he might have.

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