Friday, October 15, 2010


In one of my classes we've been talking about personality tests.  Specifically, the Enneagram Test.  We took this test in class, and if you go to the website and take the test you'll see all the different personalities: the peacemaker, the investigator, and a full list of who they do and don't get along with, even how personality traits would come through between two types.  It's a fun and interesting thing to look up, even if you don't believe that every person fits into one of these specialized 'types'.  My communications teacher says that everyone should know themselves, and reminds us that these types aren't us, they're just the software that our brain is using.  Like I said, interesting to think about.  But why bring it up?

I don't think that a lot of character building exercises are worth while, simply because a lot of them ask what your characters' favorites are, what they wear, childhood memories... Things that can be very helpful, but they have a sort of cookie cutter aspect to them.  I think that a personality type, especially if seen for the framework of why a character behaves the way they do, can be a very powerful tool.  Make your character a 6, or a loyalist - "The committed, security oriented type".  These kinds of people often want to hang on to relationships, "running on stress while depending on it", they're also the kind of people loyal to beliefs or systems, but this can carry over to revolutionary or anti-establishment tendencies.

And boom, you've got the bare bones of a character.  In a fantasy story, this may be a loyal advisor who believes that the king isn't doing everything he could to protect the kingdom, and he believes that he is the only one who can save the land he loves.  Maybe this is the revolutionary who knows that she's the only one who can make her city safe, and so joins forces with those she was fighting against.  Maybe this is only evidenced by his unwillingness to leave a lover, even though the passion is long gone.  The feeling of a security blanket of a person is a very six trait.  Anyway.

I'm planning on using this, not to figure out how I should create my characters, but to figure out what kind of types my characters already are, and then see why they do the things that they do.  I love my characters, and I think that knowing their personalities will just help me get to know them a little better.  And again, this is if you believe that every person is in general one personality type over another, and even which of the personality types you subscribe to.  But it's still pretty interesting.  Hope you're all having a nice night.

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