Causes: a naturally inquisitive nature, growing up in an environment where exploration and asking questions was encouraged, the optimistic belief that there is always something more to be learned, a thirst for knowledge, a desire to right wrongs or make things better
Characters in Literature: Alice (in Wonderland), Curious George, Harriet (the Spy)
Positives: When others see problems or inconveniences, those who are curious see an opportunity to gain knowledge. Their curiosity can make them adventurous, spurring them on to do things others wouldn't do. They are also often very knowledgeable, either in a general way, or about something specific. Characters who are curious easily stumble upon secretive things, or involve themselves in things they shouldn't; as such, they can conveniently introduce conflict into a story line.
Negatives: Curious characters are often impulsive, acting without thinking when an opportunity arrives. They can be single-minded to a fault, focused on their pursuit, or hopelessly distracted, following whatever rabbit trail appears before them. Those who are curious are frequently more interested in their current topic of exploration than they are in their relationships and the people in their lives. They may not understand or appreciate people who aren't as curious as they are.
Common Portrayals: scientists, inventors, children
Clichés to Avoid: the feeble minded but good hearted bumbler who finds everything interesting; the child who repeatedly asks "why?", the eccentric scientist
Twists on the Traditional Curious Character:
- Curiosity is usually displayed as a childish characteristic. What about a competent adult with a childlike curiosity about the world or a particular topic?
- Curious characters are usually somewhat awkward or socially backward and so are often cast as secondary characters. How about a curious hero? Or a curious villain who's motivated by his need to know?
- Those who are curious usually love to share their knowledge with others. Why not create a curious character who is secretive and selfish with his findings--maybe one who's curiosity is a means to a conniving end?
Conflicting characteristics to make your curious character unique or more interesting: bitter, solemn, popular, evil, fierce, selfish