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The Positive Trait Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Character Attributes

(Writers Helping Writers Series #3)

4.60  ·  Rating details ·  1,310 ratings  ·  81 reviews
Character creation can be hard, but it’s about to get a lot easier. Inside The Positive Trait Thesaurus, you’ll find:

* A large selection of attributes to choose from when building a personality profile. Each entry lists possible causes for why a trait might emerge, along with associated attitudes, behaviors, thoughts, and emotions
* Real character examples from literature,
Paperback, 241 pages
Published October 21st 2013 by JADD Publishing (first published October 13th 2013)
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K.M. Weiland
Oct 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
At its heart, this is, of course, a reference manual. Ninety-five percent of the book offers an incredibly detailed list of possible positive attributes for writers to consider and assign to their characters. But this is so much more than just a list. The authors have analyzed, categorized, contrasted, and brainstormed a tremendous resource for authors to use in not just slapping traits onto their characters, but in considering the story-wide ramifications of those choices.

The fantastic resource
Nov 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: All fiction writers
I love Angela and Becca’s The Emotion Thesaurus, so I had high hopes for their new Trait books but didn't see how they could live up to the ET. I’m happy to say I was wrong. These two additions are fantastic resources for writers.

The Positive Trait Thesaurus leads off with helpful tips on writing characters worth rooting for and then dives into the psychological background on how positive traits develop and how we can use them in a character arc. A section even shares how villains can have posit
Laura L. Weller
Mar 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014-reads
I'm a fan of the Emotional Thesaurus and was impressed with the additional books and the approach to character building, although I puzzled over the two volumes. After reading them both, I underestand there the distinct philosophies of character biographies. It's more than just the flip of a pancake between pro and con behaviors. I'm starting a new YA (two, actually) and easily tried out the suggestions and didn't use every exercise, but the approach shortened my laboratory frankensstein moments ...more
Dec 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: on-writing
A great follow up to THE EMOTIONAL THESAURUS.
Jan 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Review to come. Immensely helpful, and definitely a great companion read to "The Negative Trait Thesaurus." ...more
Tracey Pedersen
Dec 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I love this book series! The detail inside is worth a lot more than I paid for this book. I don't buy paperbacks anymore but I bought the whole series of these and had them shipped to Australia. Well thought out, well-ordered and easy to flick through and find what you want. Any writer looking for a way to improve their words should check out these books! If I could give them 6 stars, I would! ...more
Lia  Nguyen
Jul 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I am not a writer but this is is absolutely a reference that I could use it to create my own fantasy or fiction characters in my fashion collection. Also it helped me out to find out more about who I want to be and able to observe people around me.
Roger Alderman
Apr 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book always remains close by as I work on my own fiction titles.
Dec 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Another great guide from Angela and Becca! I recommend reading this along with The Negative Trait Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Character Flaws or right after each other.

Includes: writing advice from the authors, positive traits list (possible causes; associated behaviors, thoughts, and emotions; positive and negative aspects of the trait; examples from literature; traits in supporting characters that may cause conflict; challenging scenarios for the character), a character profile questionnai
Carolee Noury
Jun 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent reference book for writing realistic characters.

There is 27 pages of essays--ranging from writing a believable villain to understanding what motivates your character and how that builds a story. Then, the thesaurus part showing traits, what they look like, how they may have come to be, how that plays out against other characters, etc. In the back are handy appendices: questionnaire, worksheet, and the categories each trait falls into.

I highly recommend this book. I own all
Laura Kreitzer
Oct 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, 2013, ebook
These two authors continue to hit it out of the park with their wonderful writing ideas. They've helped me develop well-rounded characters with complex story lines, introduced me to new ways of writing, and have inspired me in so many ways. I hope they continue to publish more writing books--I'll buy every single one of them! ...more
Mary McCoy-Dressel
Jun 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a fantastic book filled with great information for writers. A book to be read and studied over and over again. An excellent tool.
Jan 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Great book for authors
Oct 07, 2019 rated it liked it
A good resource, but of more use in conjunction with Ackerman & Puglisi's other writing help book, The Emotional Wound Thesaurus.

I've experienced some disconnect due to the book's definition of some traits don't always match my understanding/association of the trait/name, which can make it frustrating to find what you're looking for at times, especially if led there from the Wound Thesaurus. Of course there's a limit to how many traits can be included in one book, but several times I've been una
Sep 08, 2019 rated it did not like it
This book is just a series of bullet point lists about generic character traits with headings, such as "similar attributes", "associated behaviors", and other paint by numbers character information. I didn't find my time with it useful. I suppose it is meant to be thumbed through when you are stuck. In other words, a light reference book. They divide up these traits into a series of five books so, you're out like $75 if you plunge into all of these. I picked two of them up because the goodreads' ...more
Jun 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book - a long with all the other books in the writer helping writer series - is probebly the best investment I have made when it comes to my career in story telling.

A strong character makes a book. In fact - if your plot is nothing more than a delivery driver delivering a TV to someone's house and you have a proteagenist with depth and a well throughout supporting character or two, I would read the absolute shit out of your book.

I would highly recommend these series to any writer who's seri
Willow Woodford
Jan 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Positive Trait Thesaurus talks about using traits to deepen your characterization to help your reader become emotionally invested in them. They use a similar format as the Emotion Thesaurus by defining the characteristic, listing similar attributes, possible causes and associated behaviors. I haven’t used these as thoroughly as I should, mostly because when I bought them I was in the middle of writing something I’d already developed characters for, but I’m in the beginning of a new project a ...more
Chris Lofts
Jan 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
I have three in this series; this one along with the Guide to Character Flaws and the writers guide to character expression. Not a book to read end to end, in the same way you wouldn't read any thesaurus. The introduction provides some great insights and in the sections themselves ideas around the kind of attributes in characters that may cause conflict between protagonist and antagonist, provides much food for thought. Great companion books which have a well-deserved place on my desk where I wr ...more
Alexander Shay
May 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
A handy partner to the Negative Trait Thesaurus, though it is set up a little bit differently, with four areas they recommend characters should have strengths in to better balance them. There's a couple blurbs at the front about villains and positive traits to make them more believable, and as with its companion volume, the PTT includes both the positive and negative aspects of each trait. It's a detailed list and a good starting point for making characters who are well rounded and realistic. ...more
Ellie T
Dec 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The first time I tried to make a character, guess what? I didn’t look at the front where it listed the different categories of personality! But the categories are really useful. The categories really help to blend a character’s personality. For example, without the categories, I made an ‘uhhh.... what?’ character. But with the categories, I was able to blend together a mature, introverted character that’s going to be changed by SOME WILD EXTROVERTS! You heard it, there’s an s at the end! It’s ev ...more
M.A. Nichols
May 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
I love this series of books. They're great desk references for authors wanting inspiration for their writing. It helps spur new ideas and helps your writing from becoming stagnant and repetitive (just like having a regular thesaurus does for your word choice). I would highly recommend these books for anyone looking to improve their craft. ...more
Jan 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a super helpful reference book for when you're feeling kind of stale with ideas and need help exploring the possibilities for what a character's motivations and desires or reasons might be, and what traits they might have. I think leaned upon too heavily it could make one's writing prosaic but as an occasional tool or just a little bit of a prompt to use when you're stuck it's great. ...more
Kirsten McNeill
Aug 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I read this book from cover to cover, but not all in one go. Being a reference guide for creating characters, I wanted to take my time. Read a few pages here and there to really process the information. It is a great resource for building heroes in your stories with individual entries for different traits and explanations and tips on how to build a balanced character.
Oscar Cecena
May 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: writing
This is one of the best reference books I've found to deepen a character. I started reading each one of the traits and immediately identified the ones my characters had.

Each entry has positive and negative aspects, as well as examples of characters in literature or film/TV.

I think I'll be using this book for the rest of my life
Amy Whitcomb
Jan 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I purchased both the POS and NEG Trait Thes and love them both! Pooling various traits REALLY helps figure out who your character is. It allows you determine how they would act in certain situations. Love, love, love these 2 books!
Jane Nash
Apr 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
this is a brilliant resource for authors who are stumbling with writer's block - all of this series are a great brainstorming exercise done for you - now it's time for you to make the magic on the page with all these juicy tidbits. ...more
Christina McDonald
Aug 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic and highly recommend. Positive traits are easy to find and really well explored. Loved it!
Nov 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017, non-fiction
More of a reference book than an instructional book.
D.A. Henneman
Dec 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A fantastic resource for any writer. The information is easy to navigate, and really help to get the creative juices flowing! A big thank you to the authors!
Madelaine Shaw-Wong
Like all of Angela Ackerman's books on writing, I find it an invaluable tool in writing my own stories. ...more
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ANGELA ACKERMAN is a writing coach, international speaker, and co-author of 8 bestselling books for writers, including The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression (now an expanded 2nd Edition). Her books are available in eight languages, are sourced by US universities, and are used by novelists, screenwriters, editors, and psychologists around the world.

Angela is also the co-fo

Other books in the series

Writers Helping Writers Series (7 books)
  • The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Character Expression
  • The Negative Trait Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Character Flaws
  • The Rural Setting Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Personal and Natural Places
  • The Urban Setting Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to City Spaces
  • The Emotional Wound Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Psychological Trauma
  • The Occupation Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Jobs, Vocations, and Careers

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