Wimp or Hero? Take five minutes to go over this list whether you intended to write a wimp character or not. You’ll be surprised how many authors aimed for a hero but wrote a wimp instead.
Take the test
Add a wimp point to his score every time the character does one of the following:
- Take a breath / Exhale / Sigh etc
- Has visceral responses to minor triggers (heart attack from the toast popping out of the toaster? Wimp…)
- Indulges in negative and passive emotions such as sadness or grief
- Has tears in their eyes or moist eyes
- Thinking for more than one line at a time
- Bites their lip/cheek/nails
- Clenches their jaw (suppressed anger)
- Gulps / swallows hard / clears throat / drops jaw
- Stares in disbelief
- Tries or attempt something. Double the points if this is connected to emotion.
- “Feels” (He felt sad/ he felt happy etc)
- “Finds himself” (He found himself at her front door)
- Involuntary actions / unconscious action
- A body part performs the action instead of the character (His hands reached her lips)
How to interpret the score
If your character scores 3 or more wimp points in a scene, he’s a wimp.
If your character scores 10-15 or more points in the whole story, he’s a wimp.
*Exceptions: romance novels allow for more wimp points. Females are allowed more wimp points than males. Having one of each makes your character look less of a wimp than repeated wimp actions.
How to fix an unintended wimp
Example: Character tried or attempted something.
Wimp: She hesitated and bit her lip.
Timid: She hesitated.
Spunky: She halted.
Wimp: She tried to pull with all her might.
Spunky: She pulled with all her might but the knot would not come loose.
Bell, J. S. (2011) Crafting novels & Short Stories.