Character traits generator: dynamic fictional character development creator, questions and personality attributes list

Character traits generator: dynamic fictional character development creator, questions and personality attributes list

Traditionally, if you want strong interesting characters, you might use a worksheet or checklist to flesh out their personality. Down below I’ve added a list of 140 personality traits, but they’re a bit simple. So I’d like to suggest something else.

AI writing tools like GPT3 are pretty good at brainstorming ideas with the right prompts.

As an example, I asked chatGPT for a list of character traits and attributes:

Make a list of a detailed, dynamic character and their traits. Make a detailed description of interesting details about them, what they look like, how they dress, a unique hobby or habit, their core beliefs.

Based on that prompt, it gave me this:

Name: Maya Johnson

Age: 27

Appearance: Maya has curly, waist-length hair that she usually wears in a messy bun. Her eyes are a deep brown, and her skin is a warm caramel tone. She has a slender build and stands at 5’7″ tall. Maya’s style is a mix of vintage and modern, often wearing flowy, patterned blouses with high-waisted jeans and chunky boots. She likes to accessorize with statement earrings and colorful scarves.

Hobby/Habit: Maya is an avid reader and always has a book with her. She also enjoys practicing yoga and can often be found doing a few poses in her office during a break. Her habit is to take a walk around the block whenever she’s feeling stressed or needs a break from work.

Core Beliefs: Maya is a strong believer in the power of community and helping others. She volunteers at a local food bank on weekends and is always willing to lend a hand to those in need. Maya also values honesty and transparency in all aspects of her life, and she strives to live her life in a way that aligns with her values.

Personality Traits:

  1. Compassionate – Maya is empathetic and always willing to lend an ear to those who need it.
  2. Intuitive – She has a natural ability to sense when something isn’t right and is quick to offer help.
  3. Curious – Maya is always eager to learn and explore new ideas and experiences.
  4. Assertive – She is confident in her beliefs and is not afraid to speak up when she disagrees with something.
  5. Determined – Maya is driven to succeed and will work hard to achieve her goals.
  6. Playful – She has a great sense of humor and enjoys making others laugh.
  7. Reflective – Maya takes time to reflect on her experiences and learns from them.
  8. Open-minded – She is willing to consider different perspectives and ideas.
  9. Persevering – Maya is resilient and will keep going even when things get tough.
  10. Generous – She is always willing to share her time and resources with others.

Overall, Maya is a dynamic and interesting character who embodies compassion, curiosity, and determination. Her unique sense of style and hobbies make her stand out, while her strong values and personality traits make her a memorable and relatable character.

That’s pretty good, so I asked for more.

You can make your *own* list, using this as a template. Side characters can be rough, but main characters need beliefs that are challenging; forcing them to act against their beliefs or convictions.

Name: Raj Patel

Age: 32

Appearance: Raj has short, black hair and piercing green eyes. He has a muscular build and stands at 6’2″ tall. Raj’s style is simple but polished, often wearing tailored suits with colorful pocket squares.

Hobby/Habit: Raj is a skilled chef and enjoys experimenting with new recipes in his free time. His habit is to meditate for 10 minutes every morning before starting his day.

Core Beliefs: Raj believes in the importance of hard work and discipline. He also values honesty and integrity in all aspects of his life.

Personality Traits:

  • Ambitious – Raj is driven to succeed and is not afraid to take risks to achieve his goals.
  • Confident – He has a strong sense of self and is not easily shaken by setbacks.
  • Perfectionist – Raj pays close attention to details and always strives for excellence.
  • Independent – He is comfortable making decisions on his own and doesn’t rely on others for validation.
  • Rational – Raj is logical and analytical in his thinking, often relying on facts and data to make decisions.
  • Witty – He has a sharp sense of humor and enjoys making others laugh.
  • Caring – Raj is deeply empathetic and always takes the time to listen to others.
  • Innovative – He is always looking for new and creative ways to solve problems.
  • Patient – Raj is able to stay calm and composed even in high-pressure situations.
  • Resourceful – He is able to find solutions to problems even with limited resources.

Name: Leila Chen

Age: 24

Appearance: Leila has long, straight black hair and almond-shaped brown eyes. She has a petite build and stands at 5’3″ tall. Leila’s style is edgy and unconventional, often wearing ripped jeans and band t-shirts.

Hobby/Habit: Leila is a graffiti artist and enjoys creating street art in her free time. Her habit is to journal every night before going to bed.

Core Beliefs: Leila believes in the power of self-expression and creativity. She also values authenticity and being true to oneself.

Personality Traits:

  • Artistic – Leila is highly creative and has a talent for visual arts.
  • Rebellious – She is unafraid to challenge authority and the status quo.
  • Passionate – Leila is deeply committed to her beliefs and values.
  • Bold – She is not afraid to take risks and try new things.
  • Empathetic – Leila is attuned to the emotions of others and can often pick up on their moods.
  • Curious – She is always eager to learn and explore new ideas and experiences.
  • Independent – Leila values her freedom and autonomy and is comfortable being alone.
  • Adventurous – She enjoys exploring new places and taking on challenges.
  • Perceptive – Leila is observant and can often pick up on details that others might miss.
  • Authentic – She is true to herself and doesn’t compromise her values for anyone.

Name: Ethan Jackson

Age: 42

Appearance: Ethan has short, brown hair and piercing blue eyes. He has a lean build and stands at 5’11” tall. Ethan’s style is classic and understated, often wearing tailored suits with leather loafers.

Hobby/Habit: Ethan is an avid cyclist and enjoys going on long rides on the weekends. His habit is to read a chapter of a book every night before going to bed.

Core Beliefs: Ethan believes in the importance of hard work and perseverance. He also values honesty and loyalty in all aspects.

  • Disciplined – Ethan is highly organized and maintains a strict routine in his daily life.
  • Goal-oriented – He sets ambitious goals for himself and works tirelessly to achieve them.
  • Calm – Ethan is able to stay composed even in stressful situations.
  • Analytical – He is logical and rational in his thinking, often breaking down complex problems into smaller parts to find solutions.
  • Dedicated – Ethan is committed to his work and his relationships, and will go to great lengths to support those he cares about.
  • Resourceful – He is able to find creative solutions to problems even when resources are limited.
  • Patient – Ethan is willing to put in the time and effort necessary to achieve his goals, and understands that success often requires patience and persistence.
  • Loyal – He values his relationships and is fiercely loyal to those he considers friends and family.
  • Reserved – Ethan is generally quiet and reserved, preferring to listen rather than speak.
  • Decisive – He is able to make tough decisions quickly and confidently, relying on his instincts and experience to guide him.

Name: Maya Patel

Age: 29

Appearance: Maya has curly brown hair and warm brown eyes. She has a curvy figure and stands at 5’6″ tall. Maya’s style is bohemian and eclectic, often wearing flowing skirts and embroidered blouses.

Hobby/Habit: Maya is an avid traveler and enjoys exploring new cultures and cuisines. Her habit is to write in a gratitude journal every morning before starting her day.

Core Beliefs: Maya believes in the importance of living in the present moment and finding joy in life’s small pleasures. She also values compassion and kindness in all aspects of her life.

Personality Traits:

  • Adventurous – Maya is always up for trying new things and taking on new challenges.
  • Open-minded – She is receptive to new ideas and perspectives, and is willing to consider alternative viewpoints.
  • Empathetic – Maya is highly attuned to the emotions of others and is always willing to lend a listening ear.
  • Creative – She has a talent for writing and is often inspired by her travels and experiences.
  • Optimistic – Maya has a positive outlook on life and believes that good things will come to those who work hard and stay true to themselves.
  • Playful – She enjoys having fun and is not afraid to let loose and be silly.
  • Free-spirited – Maya values her freedom and independence, and is comfortable following her own path.
  • Resourceful – She is able to adapt to new situations and find creative solutions to problems.
  • Thoughtful – Maya takes the time to consider the feelings and needs of others, and is always willing to lend a helping hand.
  • Grateful – She is appreciative of the people and experiences in her life, and takes time to express her gratitude regularly.

You could also add some negative personality traits

Maybe not “bad guy/villain” stuff, just annoying little things that they don’t notice, but bothers other characters. Their core beliefs can crash together, and you don’t want a band of heroes who just agree and never argue.

Here are some negative personality traits to consider:

  1. Arrogant – Someone who is arrogant thinks they are better or more important than others, and may have a condescending attitude towards those they see as inferior.
  2. Impulsive – Someone who is impulsive acts without thinking things through, and may make rash or careless decisions that lead to negative consequences.
  3. Manipulative – Someone who is manipulative uses deceit or trickery to get what they want, and may exploit or take advantage of others for their own gain.
  4. Selfish – Someone who is selfish thinks only of themselves and their own interests, and may disregard the needs or feelings of others.
  5. Jealous – Someone who is jealous feels envious of others’ success or possessions, and may become resentful or bitter towards those who have more than they do.
  6. Critical – Someone who is critical is overly judgmental or nitpicky, and may find fault with even minor flaws or mistakes.
  7. Moody – Someone who is moody experiences sudden changes in mood or temperament, and may be difficult to predict or deal with.
  8. Disorganized – Someone who is disorganized has difficulty keeping things in order or maintaining a schedule, and may struggle to stay on top of their responsibilities.
  9. Impatient – Someone who is impatient has little tolerance for delays or waiting, and may become frustrated or irritable when things don’t happen quickly enough.
  10. Passive-aggressive – Someone who is passive-aggressive may express their anger or resentment in indirect or passive ways, such as through sarcasm, stubbornness, or withholding information.

Fatal Flaw and Character Lack

The protagonist probably also has a core wound or emotional backstory: but you can’t get to this too early or too easily. This backstory reveal should happen close to the end or right in the middle of the final battle scene.

I also just made a post about dynamic vs static character development, which really focuses on where to put the backstory reveal (right before the peak drama/moment of change).

The fatal flaw should be the exact situation that the hero will have to face to triumph; the battle should make them face the core wound they’ve been avoiding their whole lives, so that they are forced to *fix* themselves right there in the moment, in the middle of highest tension and conflict, and it’s the only way to survive or win – so the battle mirrors their needs and weaknesses exactly. Because a good story isn’t about what happenes, it’s a set of situations that forces one protagonist to change. But it needs incredible, deep, emotional resistance, so that it requires incredible tensions and pressure.

Other ways to generate dynamic characters

I’m using *dynamic* wrong here, but a lot of people use it to mean, deep, realistic, believable characters instead of “mary sue’s” or caricatures. Really it means, characters who can change: and to do that well you have to show the resistance and establish who they are, before you force them to make an impossible choice. But it’s not that hard to create better characters, just by adding detail.

You can give them a zodiac sign, or a Myers Briggs personality type.

In my video on writing basics, I shared this list:

  • where they live
  • what they wear
  • hair/eye color
  • an object they treasure
  • something they love
  • something they hate
  • something they’d never do
  • a unique skill or ability
  • a weird habit
  • what they want (immediately and permanently).

Character scene checklist

As a way to organize your novel, you might want to keep track of each character, with a simple who, what, when, where, why, how:

  • who is IN this scene.
  • what do they do that impacts the action
  • when do they show up?
  • where are they exactly?
  • why are they here?
  • how does their appearance impact the other characters or story narrative?

140 Character Traits Personality List

Just in case you need some more.

  1. Adventurous
  2. Ambitious
  3. Analytical
  4. Arrogant
  5. Artistic
  6. Assertive
  7. Authentic
  8. Brave
  9. Calm
  10. Caring
  11. Charismatic
  12. Cheerful
  13. Clever
  14. Compassionate
  15. Confident
  16. Conscientious
  17. Contemplative
  18. Courageous
  19. Creative
  20. Curious
  21. Cynical
  22. Daring
  23. Decisive
  24. Dependable
  25. Determined
  26. Diligent
  27. Disciplined
  28. Discreet
  29. Dominant
  30. Dramatic
  31. Dynamic
  32. Eccentric
  33. Efficient
  34. Empathetic
  35. Energetic
  36. Enthusiastic
  37. Ethical
  38. Extroverted
  39. Faithful
  40. Fearless
  41. Flirtatious
  42. Forgiving
  43. Friendly
  44. Frugal
  45. Funny
  46. Generous
  47. Gentle
  48. Genuine
  49. Gracious
  50. Gritty
  51. Hardworking
  52. Honest
  53. Humble
  54. Humorous
  55. Idealistic
  56. Imaginative
  57. Impartial
  58. Impulsive
  59. Independent
  60. Industrious
  61. Inquisitive
  62. Insightful
  63. Intelligent
  64. Intense
  65. Intuitive
  66. Inventive
  67. Irreverent
  68. Joyful
  69. Judicious
  70. Kind
  71. Lively
  72. Logical
  73. Loving
  74. Loyal
  75. Meticulous
  76. Mischievous
  77. Modest
  78. Optimistic
  79. Organized
  80. Outgoing
  81. Passionate
  82. Patient
  83. Perceptive
  84. Persistent
  85. Persuasive
  86. Philosophical
  87. Playful
  88. Polite
  89. Positive
  90. Practical
  91. Pragmatic
  92. Precise
  93. Principled
  94. Proactive
  95. Professional
  96. Proud
  97. Quick-witted
  98. Rational
  99. Realistic
  100. Rebellious
  101. Reflective
  102. Reliable
  103. Resourceful
  104. Respectful
  105. Responsible
  106. Romantic
  107. Sarcastic
  108. Sensitive
  109. Serious
  110. Sincere
  111. Skeptical
  112. Smart
  113. Sophisticated
  114. Spontaneous
  115. Strategic
  116. Strong-willed
  117. Stubborn
  118. Successful
  119. Supportive
  120. Sympathetic
  121. Tactful
  122. Tenacious
  123. Thoughtful
  124. Tolerant
  125. Tough
  126. Trusting
  127. Trustworthy
  128. Unconventional
  129. Understanding
  130. Unflappable
  131. Unique
  132. Unpredictable
  133. Versatile
  134. Vigilant
  135. Visionary
  136. Warm
  137. Wise
  138. Witty
  139. Worldly
  140. Zealous

Read more about characterization in fiction.

Character Template Worksheet (PDF)

Here are two handy character templates for creating major and minor characters.

Creating a Major Character Blank Template

Minor Character Template

AI character traits generator:

There are a bunch of new AI writing tools, soon inside of regular writing and apps and programs, but you can try mine at and use a prompt like this:

Make a list of a detailed, dynamic character and their traits. Make a detailed description of interesting details about them, what they look like, how they dress, a unique hobby or habit, their core beliefs.

It’s also great for character descriptions (“give me a detailed description for a character, of a 9th century knight from Spain, include his hairstyle, clothes, manner and personality…”) and if you want you can even us AI tools like midjourney to generate character cards and fantasy illustrations which are great for writing motivation.

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