“Every successful creative person creates with an audience of one in mind.”
– Kurt Vonnegut –
Story Character Description
Character Description and characters are most important.
Characters are arguably the most important element in any story. Because of their importance, you’d better get them right.
“Characters are fighting here,
Characters are hiding there,
Characters are in your head,
Yet have no character words to share.”
– Anon –
Words Describing Characters.
Describing story characters, character description, storyline, plot, romantic suspense, horror story…. Who’d be a writer? Writing sometimes drives authors round the bend. We’re convinced we have the story of the decade in our head if only we can get it down. We know what we want to say, but the route from head to paper can sometimes really straighten us out.
Describing story characters is perhaps the worst. The problem is, without characters there is no story. If the story is merely one piece of action following another, it becomes very boring. We need characters we can identify and sympathise with. We need to love, hate and be on the edge of our seats waiting to see what happens next to the character – to achieve this we need respectable character descriptions and effective characterization.
So how do we go about describing a character?
Writers should never overplay their hand when describing a character. Be superficial. Overblown descriptions will kill reader’s interest. By and large it’s better to describe the profile of a character briefly, and leave the rest to the inventiveness of the reader. All we need do is provide a distinctive soupçon that makes our meaning unquestionable.
One of the tribulations of being a writer is that we can become so entangled with our actual narrative that our mental stash of words is blinded. To live to tell the tale, I’ve assembled a list of preferred words describing characters and their traits.
Use Care With Character Description.
Here is my list of words describing characters in alphabetical order. Please be frugal when exploiting them. A dusting in the right place can brighten your characters and make them stand out. Excessive descriptions will kill them.
Words Describing A Character.
Able, Abominable, Above-board, Accommodating, Accomplished, Acerbic, Active, Adept, Adolescent, Adoring, Adroit, Adventurous , Affable , Affected , Affectionate, Afflicted, Aggravated, Aggressive, Aghast, Agitated, Agreeable, Alert, All ears, All fingers and thumbs, Alluring, Alluring, Amateur, Amazed, Ambitious, Amenable, Amiable, Amorous, Amusing, Analytical, Angry, Anguished, Animated, Annoyed, Anxious, Apathetic, Appalled, Appealing, Appreciative, Apprehensive, Argumentative, Arrogant, Articulate, Artistic, Aspiring, Assertive, Assiduous, Assured, Astonished, Astounded, Astringent, Attending, Attentive, Attractive, Audacious , Authoritarian, Avaricious, Aware, Awkward,
Babyish, Bad, Bad-tempered, Baffled, Bamboozled, Banal, Base, Befuddled, Beguiling, Belligerent, Bemused, Benevolent, Bewildered, Biased, Big-headed, Bighearted, Biting, Bitter, Bizarre, Blameless, Blasé’, Blessed, Blundering, Blunt, Bold, Boorish, Bored, Bored to death, Bossy, Bothered, Bouncy, Brainy, Brave , Brave, Brazen, Bright, Brilliant, Bubbly, Buoyant, Busy,
Cagey, Callous, Calm, Candid, Cantankerous, Capable, Captivating, Carefree , Careful, Careless, Caring, Catlike, Caustic, Cautious, Censorious, Challenging, Charismatic, Charitable, Charming, Chary, Chaste, Chatty, Cheeky, Cheerful, Cheesed-off, Childish, Choleric, Choosy, Churlish, Circumspect, Civilized, Clear, Clearheaded, Clever, Course, Cold, Coldblooded, Cold-hearted, Comical, Compassionate, Compelling, Competent, Complacent, Compliant, Composed, Conceited, Concerned, Condescending, Confident, Confrontational, Confused, Connoisseur, Conscientious, Considerate, Constant, Convivial, Cool, Cooperative, Cordial, Corrupt, Courageous, Courteous, Covert, Covetous, Cowardly, Crabby, Crafty, Cranky, Craven, Crazy, Creative, Critical, Cross, Crude, Cruel, Cryptic, Cultivated, Cultured, Curious, Cutting,
Dangerous, Daring, Dauntless, Dazed, Dazzling, Deceitful, Decisive, Deft, Dejected, Delicate, Demanding, Dependable, Depressed, Deriding , Derisible, Derogatory, Deserted, Desirable, Deskbound, Desolate, Determined, Detestable, Devious, Devoted, Dexterous, Dictatorial, Difficult, Diligent, Diplomatic, Disapproving, Disconcerted, Discouraged, Discreet, Disgruntled, Dishonest, Dismayed, Disoriented, Disparaging, Dispassionate, Dispirited, Displeased, Disrespectful, Dissatisfied, Distraught, Distressed, Distrustful, Disturbed , Docile, Dodgy, Dogged, Domineering, Domineering, Doting, Doubtful, Doubting, Downcast, Doyen, Drab, Droll, Droopy, Drowsy, Dubious, Dull, Dumbfounded, Dutiful, Dutiful, Dynamic,
Eager, Easy-going , Eccentric, Educated, Effective , Effervescent, Efficient, Effusive, Egotistical, Elegant, Eloquent, Embarrassed, Enchanting, Encouraging, Energetic , Engaged, Enigmatic, Enlivened, Enraged, Enthralling, Enthusiastic, Enticing, Entrancing, Envious, Erudite, Evasive, Even-tempered, Exacting, Exasperated, Exceptional, Excited, Exciting , Expert, Exploratory , Expressive, Extreme, Extroverted, Exuberant,
Facetious, Faded, Faint-hearted, Fair, Fair-minded, Faithful, Faithful, False, Fanciful, Fascinated, Fascinating, Fashionable, Fastidious, Fearful, Fearless, Fed up, Ferocious, Fidgety, Fierce, Finicky, Firm, Fishy, Flabbergasted, Flighty, Flippant, Fluent, Focused, Fond, Foolish, Forlorn, Formal, Forthright, Fortuitous, Fortunate, Frank, Fraudulent, Fretful, Friendless, Friendly , Frightened, Frivolous, Frustrated, Full of activity, Full of zip , Fuming, Funny, Furious, Furtive, Fussy,
Garrulous, Gauche, Gawky, Generous, Genial , Gentle, Giddy, Gifted, Giving, Glamorous, Glib, Gloomy , Glum, Gnashing his/her teeth, Gobsmacked, Go-getting, Good-humoured, Good-natured, Graceful, Gracious, Grand, Grasping, Grateful, Greedy, Gregarious, Gritty, Grouchy, Grown-up, Grumpy, Guarded, Guileless, Gullible, Gushing, Gutless,
Hacked off, Ham-fisted, Happy, Hard, Hard at it, Hard-hearted, Hard-working, Hardy, Harmless, Harried, Harsh, Hasty, Hateful, Haughty, Heated, Heavy-handed, Hectic, Helpful, Heroic, Hilarious, Honest, Hopeful, Hopeless, Horrible, Hospitable, Humble, Humorous, Hypnotizing,
Iffy, Ignorant, Ignorant, Ill-behaved, Ill-bred, Ill-informed, Illiterate, Ill-mannered, Imaginative, Immaculate, Immature, Impartial, Impatient, Impenetrable, Impertinent, Impish, Impolite, Impressive, Impudent, Impulsive, In demand, In good spirits, Inactive, Inane, Inarticulate, Inattentive, Incapable, Incensed, Inconspicuous, Incredulous, Independent, Indifferent, Indignant, Indispensable, Indolent, Indomitable, Industrious, Industrious, Inelegant, Inept, Inexperienced, Infantile, Infuriated, Ingenious, Innocent, Innocuous, Inoffensive, Inquisitive, Insatiable, Insecure, Insincere, Insipid, Insistent, Insolent, Inspirational, Inspired, Insufferable, Intellectual, Intelligent, Intense, Intent, Interfering, Interventionist, Intrepid, Intriguing, Inventive, Inviting, Involved , Irate, Ireful, Irresponsible, Irritable, Irritated, Itching,
Jaded, Jaunty, Jealous, Jittery, Jolly, Jovial , Judgemental, Judicious, Jumpy, Just, Juvenile,
Keen, Kind, Knowing,
Lackadaisical, La-di-da , Laissez-faire, Languid, Languorous, Large-scale, Lazy, Learned, Leery, Leisurely, Lenient, Liberal, Lifeless, Likable, Lily-livered, Lively , Livid, Logical, Lone, Lonely, Lonesome, Long-suffering, Long-winded, Loquacious, Loutish, Lovable, Loving, Low, Loyal, Lucky, Lumbering, Luminous,
Mad, Maddened, Magnetic, Magnificent, Maladroit, Malicious, Materialistic, Mature, Mean, Mediocre, Meek , Melancholy, Mendacious, Merciless, Merry, Meticulous, Mischievous, Miserable, Miserly, Mocking, Moderate, Modest, Moody, Mordant, Motivated, Moved , Moving, Mysterious, Mystified,
Naïve, Narked, Naughty, Negative, Negligent, Nervous, Nit-picking, Noisy, Nonplussed, Nosey,
Obedient, Objective, Obliging, Oblivious, Obnoxious, Observant, Obvious, Occupied, Odd, Odious, Offensive, Officious, On the ball, On the go, On your toes, Open, Operational , Optimistic, Ordinary, Original, Outgoing, Outraged, Outspoken, Overbearing, Overconfident, Overwhelmed,
Pained, Painstaking, Panicky, Particular, Paying attention, Peaceable, Peaceful, Peculiar, Peeved, Peevish, Pernickety, Persuasive, Pert, Pessimistic, Petrified, Petulant, Philanthropic, Picky, Pitiless, Playful, Pleasant, Plucky, Poised, Polite, Posh , Positive, Powerful, Precious , Precise, Prepared, Pretentious , Privileged, Probing, Professional, Proficient, Prosperous, Protective, Proud, Provoked, Prudent, Prying, Puerile, Pushy, Pusillanimous, Put out, Puzzled,
Quaint, Qualified, Quarrelsome, Quick, Quiet, Quirky,
Radiant, Raging, Rapt, Raring-to-go, Rascally, Rash, Rational, Razor sharp, Ready, Ready for anything, Reasonable, Reckless, Refined, Relaxed, Reliable, Remarkable, Remorseless, Repugnant, Repulsive, Reserved, Resourceful, Respectful, Restless, Restrained, Revolting, Riled, Risk-taking , Risky, Rough, Roused, Rude, Ruthless,
Sad, Sarcastic, Satisfied, Saturnine, Savage, Scared, Scathing, Scatter-brained, Scatty, Sceptical, Scholarly, Scornful, Scorning, Scrupulous, Secluded, Secretive, Sedentary, Seeking , Self-assured, Self-effacing, Self-important, Selfish, Self-righteous, Self-satisfied, Sensible, Sensible, Sensitive, Serene, Severe, Severe, Shadowy, Shady, Shaken, Sharp, Shifty, Shocked, Shrewd, Shy, Sickened, Silly , Sincere, Single-minded, Skilful, Skilled, Slapdash, Sleepy, Slick, Sloppy, Sluggish, Small, Smart, Smiling, Smug, Snooping, Sociable , Solitary, Somnolent, Sophisticated, Sparkling, Specialist, Speechless, Spineless, Spirited, Spiteful, Splendid, Staunch, Steadfast, Stealthy, Stern, Still, Stimulated, Stingy, Stirred, Stirring, Straight, Strange, Strict, Striving, Strong-minded, Stroppy, Stumped, Stunned, Stupid, Stylish, Submissive, Submissive, Subtle, Sullen, Superficial, Superior, Supportive, Surprised, Surreptitious, Suspect, Suspicious, Sympathetic,
Taciturn, Taken aback, Talented, Talkative, Tame, Tasteful, Teasing, Tempting, Tender, Terrified, Thick, Thorough, Thoughtful, Thoughtless, Thrill-seeking , Tight-fisted, Tired, Tiring, Tongue in cheek, Tormented, Torpid, Touched, Tough, Tranquil, Traumatised, Trendy, Trite, Troubled, Trusting, Trustworthy, Truthful, Twitchy,
Unassuming, Unattractive, Unaware, Unbearable, Unconscious, Unconventional, Uncooperative, Uncouth, Underprivileged, Understated, Undeveloped, Unenlightened, Unenthusiastic, Unfair, Unfamiliar, Unfeeling, Unforgiving, Unformed, Unfortunate, Unfriendly, Ungainly, Unhappy, Unimaginative, Uninformed, Uninterested, Unkind, Unkind, Unknowing, Unnatural , Unobtrusive, Unpleasant, Unpretentious, Unreliable, Unreliable, Unreserved, Unruffled, Unsophisticated, Unstinting, Unsullied, Unsympathetic, Untiring, Untrustworthy, Unusual, Unwavering, Unworldly, Upfront, Upset, Urbane,
Valiant, Venturesome , Verbose, Vibrant, Vigilant, Vigorous, Vale, Violento, Virtuoso, Virtuoso, Vivacitos, Vivid, Voluble,
Waggish, Warm , Wary, Watchful, Weak, Wearied, Weird, Well-behaved, Well-expressed, Well-heeled, Well-mannered, Well-off, Wicked, Wild, Willing, Wise, Wishy-washy, Withering, Witty, Working , Worried, Wound up, Wrathful,
Yearning, Young ,
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I hope you find the list helpful – but please be frugal with their use. Remember that less is more.
End of – Words describing a character–