Character Traits Thesaurus Entry: Reckless



Definition: Marked by a lack of proper caution; careless of consequences


Causes: a naturally fearless nature, conceit, rebellion, a desire to get someone's attention, a need to prove something to others, a need to be accepted or liked, addiction to the adrenaline rush (adrenaline junkies), perceived invulnerability, an utter lack of care or concern for oneself, impulsivity/not thinking things through, immaturity (lack of ability or desire to make careful decisions)


Characters in Literature: Alaska Young (Looking for Alaska), Mr. Toad (The Wind in the Willows)


Positives: Recklesses are the people who do things that no one else will. Because their activities are beyond the norm, they can be entrepreneurial in nature, thinking outside the box and coming up with ideas that others would never dream of. They are often determined, decisive, and sometimes brave. Though dangerous, they provide fun and excitement for the people around them.

Negatives: Reckless people are a danger to themselves and others. They're self-involved, often knowing that their behavior is dangerous but being compelled to pursue whatever it is they seek. Because people can confuse recklessness with free-spiritedness or adventurousness, Recklesses are often admired by others and can lead weaker-minded people astray.

Common Characteristics: boldness, fearlessness (whether real or perceived), impulsivity, lacking common sense, needing constant stimulation, exhibiting multiple self-destructive behaviors (drugs, alcohol, driving dangerously, unsafe sex, etc), lack of respect for authority, shooting off at the mouth, stubbornness

Cliches to Avoid:
  • the tortured Reckless with a death wish
  • the Reckless bully, always coercing and manipulating others to join in his behavior



Twists on the Traditional Reckless:
  • Because Recklesses often have a negative past event that defines their behavior, how about making a character reckless for a different reason? The Reckless whose parents were crocodile wrestlers and raised her to be adventurous and fearless. Or a nerdy Reckless who wants to be like his treasure-hunting hero in his favorite comic.
  • Mentors are wise and usually do right by their proteges. A reckless mentor would be a hoot, in my opinion.
Conflicting Characteristics that will make your Reckless unique or interesting: timid, anxious, accident-prone, brainy, obedient, proper, conscientous

13 comments:

Traci Kenworth said...

Oooh, I like this!! Recklessness can do so much to become a character and make them a tool to further a scene/s with him/her. They can be the catalyst for so much. You've got to be one of the best writer tools sites I've run across, and you just keep improving!! Good luck to you both on everything.

Deborah Taylor-French said...

This is perfect for a child character I'm still drawing in my novel. Ruthie is reckless, yet her very daring draws her best friend into fantastic adventures. Ruthie has been encouraged to jump in and have fun. Of course, this gets her and her friend in trouble.

Thank you for defining different reasons why a character maybe a reckless type.

Heather said...

I love the idea of changing a reckless character's reason to make them unique. That is an awesome idea!

marissameyer said...

I love your character trait posts! They always give me new ideas. Thanks!

Jeff King said...

Perfect... this came at the right time for me and my WIP.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Boy, you sure did nail the characteristics of a reckless person. Great job. And the idea of a reckless person also being accident-prone is downright intriguing.

Barbara Watson said...

Reckless for a different reason - I like that. Thank you for making us think beyond....

Lisa Gail Green said...

Yup, another great one. And I love the pic. :D

Miranda Hardy said...

Hi Becca! It was great to meet you yesterday, and this site is great. I'll be spending the day browsing. lol

L.J. said...

Great idea about turning the usual "Reckless" character into something I've never seen before. Oh how the wheels are now spinning...

Becca Puglisi said...

Yay! Welcome, Miranda!

Carrie said...

I agree! I'd love to see a reckless mentor. Great post! :)

Claire Dawn said...

As a bit of a reckless myself, I loved this post! :)

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