NEGATIVE TRAIT THESAURUS

DEVIOUS



Never struggle with Show-and-Tell again. Sign up and activate your free trial, Sign in as a subscriber to view the Negative Trait Thesaurus in its entirety, or visit the Table of Contents to explore unlocked entries.

START MY 2-WEEK FREE TRIAL

HELPFUL TIP:

Characters with this flaw will be extra sensitive to certain emotions, so think about how events in your story might specifically trigger these feelings to generate compelling tension and conflict. Another idea is to give a supporting character a positive attribute that is an opposite of this flaw, which will get under the skin of both characters and cause friction in their relationship.
DEFINITION:
Characterized by subtlety and trickery; not straightforward

SIMILAR FLAWS:
Calculating, crafty, duplicitous, scheming, shifty, sly, sneaky, wily

POSSIBLE CAUSES:
Growing up in an environment of distrust
Having an overly strict upbringing
Having caregivers who engaged in devious behaviors (criminal activity, etc.)
Substance addiction
Impure motives; having something to hide
Selfishness
A desire to avoid negative consequences

ASSOCIATED BEHAVIORS AND ATTITUDES:
Stealing or cheating
Lying
Sneaking around behind someone’s back
Manipulation; pitting people against each other
Maligning others
Using diversionary tactics to draw attention away from oneself
Taking advantage of weaker parties
Working on the fringes to avoid notice
Saying whatever one needs to in order to achieve one’s goals
Pretending to believe in a cause or person so one can gain access to connections or power
Saying one thing to one person and something else to another person
Always thinking ahead and maneuvering for one’s own benefit
Observing others carefully; watching for weaknesses
Surrounding oneself with other unscrupulous people or those who can be controlled
Playing on others’ emotions
...

ASSOCIATED THOUGHTS:
...

ASSOCIATED EMOTIONS:
...

POSITIVE ASPECTS:
...

NEGATIVE ASPECTS:
...

EXAMPLES FROM LITERATURE:
...

OVERCOMING THIS TRAIT AS A MAJOR FLAW:
...

TRAITS IN SUPPORTING CHARACTERS THAT MAY CAUSE CONFLICT:
...