Today begins our Character Personality Class. Classes will be held every other Wednesday starting today.
Back in December I mentioned my dislike for completing the tedious forms that asked fifty plus questions about each of my dominant characters. To me the questions often cause me to create useless information (birthdate, favorite food, etc) that I either never use or only add a layer of superficial boring details rather than help me dig into the character's gut feeling and subsequent response.
The purpose of knowing a character's personality is to help the writer know what typically plays out in a given situation. A character's response can change the flow of an entire scene.
Determining the personality does not put a character in a box. No, not at all. I will provide you with an extensive list of characters who display each of the personality types. From this, you will be able to see the vast freedom your character has to respond in a logical way specific to them.
The benefit to understanding your character's personality is knowing what he/she would think and do when faced with, say, the last petal of a daisy and the words he/she loves me not. Or the physical response when your character is the last one holding the gun in a game of Russian Roulette.
My qualifications: I have a Masters in Guidance and Counseling and have worked in this field for more than ten years. I am also a fiction writer and speaker.
Let's get started with Personality One: Outgoing. Observant. Outspoken. Spontaneous
|The Joker Nickie Ferrante|
He is outgoing: characterized by masterminding plots, Joker, sweeping a forbidden love off their feet, Nickie. He is engaged with those around him without a shred of loyalty to the following.
The more his friends laugh and seek him out the more successful he feels. At some point, though, he will grow tired of them, cast them away, and seek new followers.
|Miranda Priestly Scarlett O'Hara|
She keeps people on their toes. Her followers/friends never know what she will poke fun at next. It will not be kind. "Is my coffee ready? Has she died?"
She is gregarious and proud of the fact that the masses want to be around her Scarlett...be her, Miranda.
|Four Thorin Oakenshield|
He is athletic. Enjoys extreme sports. He is naturally coordinated which enables him to pursue elements of danger like rock climbing, bungie jumping, windsurfing, jousting, train jumping, dragon slaying, killing the Azog, the Orc chieftain, and etc.
He is spontaneous, ready to initiate an activity, program, policy, for the-what-he-understands-to-be-right/best. A divergent.
|Robin Hood, James T. Kirk, Gaston|
Mrs. Smith, Cleopatra, M
She is outspoken, objective, logical, perceiving, responsive, adventurous.
Satisfaction chiefly comes in a new opportunity. Motivation is fueled by a desire to reach the goal.
Each of the characters in the photos have the personality discussed in today's class. Take a minute to look at the photos and consider the character (not the actor). Would you have invited them to your New Year's Eve party? Why or Why not?
For the sake of giving this personality an easy to remember label, this one will be called the Joker/Scarlet Personality. As you consider the characteristics of this outgoing, observant, outspoken, and spontaneous character take quiz below to check your working understanding of his or her response to the given situations:
1. While at a ball or state function
a. he would dance with his true love for most of the dances.
b. he would ignore a spill caused by the server.
c. he would keep a lively conversation at the dinner table.
d. he would encourage others to speak
2. Each day
a. she rises early with an agenda in her head
b. she wishes for five more minutes of sleep
c. she prefers to shop then stop at the coffee shop rather than go to work, but goes to work anyway
d. she dreams of a strong man to sweep her off her feet
3. His New Year's Resolution might be:
a. start a volunteer program to help the homeless
b. organize/clean/polish his weapons/tools
c. hike Mt. Everest
d. write a novel
4. After a long day at work she prefers to:
a. sip a cup or glass of her favorite beverage and put her feet up
b. go out with her friends
c. run errands
d. catch up with social media
5. When personal tragedy strikes:
a. he seeks the company of friends
b. punches a wall or breaks something
c. hides in his room for days, unwilling to eat or drink
d. frustration and heartache rip him apart on the inside but he pulls himself together to act
6. Which character would not be an example of the Joker/Scarlett Personality?
a. Iron Man
b. Sherlock Holmes
d. Hans Solo
(Bonus- why would the character you chose not be an example of the Joker/Scarlett Personality?)
How did you do? Here are the answers: 1. c /2. a /3. c /4. b /5. d /6. b
What would happen if a Joker/Scarlett personality (outgoing, observant, outspoken, and spontaneous) discovered a secret code? Tell two things the character might do.
Would this character be in any of your WIP? If so, take a moment and consider their scenes. Did he or she respond true to their personality? Can you deepen the scene by modifying or including something only this personality might do?
Feel free to ask questions in the comment section! I hope to see you at our next class in two weeks.
Information for this series has been gathered from sources focusing on Carl Jung's personality assessment works and include:
Myers. "The 16 MBTI® Types." The Myers and Briggs Foundation. The Myers and Briggs Foundation, 2014. Web. 29 Dec. 2014.;
Smith, Daniel. How to Think like Sherlock: Improve Your Powers of Observation, Memory and Deduction. New York: MJF, 2012. Print.
Myers, David G. Psychology. 10th ed. New York: Worth, 2013. Print.
Mary has moved to Michigan with her husband, closer to her three college kids. She misses the mountains of Montana, but loves seeing family more often. She writes young adult mystery/adventure Christian fiction, is honing marketing and writing skills, and loves to pen missionary and Bible adventure stories on her ministry blog, God Loves Kids.