An attribute is defined as a quality or characteristic of a person, place, or thing. Real life individuals and fictional characters possess various attributes. For example, someone might be labeled beautiful, charming, funny, or intelligent. These are all attributes, but don't those labels seem to ring true as traits too?
There is a difference between attributes and traits, but it is slight and some characteristics could be considered either an attribute or a trait. Let's consider the difference between the two, and throw in skills too, before we take a look at some examples of attributes.
Difference Between Attributes, Skills, and Traits
We know an attribute is a quality or characteristic of a person, place, or thing. It's an identifying label that alludes to something inherent about them, like charm or cruelty.
A skill, on the other hand, is generally something that is taught. A person will undergo training to learn or improve a particular skill. These might include calligraphy, computer coding, or car repair.
Meanwhile, a trait is an ingrained characteristic or habit that is difficult to learn or unlearn, like shyness or confidence.
To explore the topic of traits more, take a look at some character trait examples.
As you look at people around you or develop a character study for your latest short story or novel, how would you label them? What are their attributes? Will these labels denote positive qualities or characteristics? If so, try one of these attributes on for size:
Every story needs conflict or a villain. Although one of these attributes may not be their identifying characteristic, or trait, it might be one of the markers you'll use to describe them. Let's take a look:
Finally, some attributes aren't quite so personal. Especially in the workplace, certain attributes are simply matter-of-fact. Maybe one of the characters in your book will meet his enterprising lawyer or efficient book editor. If so, you might want to consider honing in on one of these attributes:
Most of us have more than one attribute. We can be clever and funny, or beautiful and honest. While it's true traits are more singular and identifying, it's interesting to see people's attributes unfold. Whether real-life or fictional, attributes abound for many of us.
If you'd like to dive deeper into aspects of personality types and traits, enjoy these Examples of Personality Traits. There, you'll learn more about the famous Myers-Briggs indicators and it may help you develop your new character with wonderful depth. Happy labeling!