Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Character Personality Class.2 The Life of the Party

In today's Character Personality Class we will discuss the character who is the life of the party. We'll see how characters from movies and TV shows demonstrate this characteristic and use this information to deepen our own characters.

Remember, each class is independent. However, adding the last class to your notes to complete the class will be beneficial to you. Here is the link for the first class: The Outgoing.Observant.Outspoken. Joker/Scarlett O'Hara character

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Anna from Frozen
By having a basic understanding of each characteristic, you will be able to write deeper characters and avoid cliche descriptors. For example, last night I watched a recent Forever episode. Abraham, the older man, goes to the funeral of his best friend from grade school. He dresses up in a nice suit and drives to the cemetery. He searches for the widow, whom he also knew, and when he sees her he says, "There she is. Fiona. What a tomato." Fiona has red hair and was the first girl he ever kissed--and planned to marry from childhood. The show ends with her stopping by his store to say hello. Not your typical funeral scene. But very much in Abe's character.

See how this funeral scene played out different from a serious, weepy typical one--as in Sleepless in Seattle.

The Life of the Party character has these characteristics:

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Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean
 Ferris Bueller in Ferris Bueller's Day Off

Fun-loving. He loves to be in the middle of the action. 

He is playful, open, and has a sense of humor. 

He is friendly, likable, but hard to get close to.

Reluctant to be serious or talk about anything negative.

There isn't enough time in the day to do all he wants to do.

He has a zest for life and makes decisions based on a gut feeling.

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Mary Clancy in Trouble With Angels
Fred&George Weasley in Harry Potter

She lives in the moment, enjoying what life has to offer. Mary Clancy had scathing brilliant ideas, and the Weasley brothers were practical jokesters.

She is spontaneous and energetic. She prefers hands on activities and is focused on the external.

They like to draw out other people to enjoy themselves.

They do not plan ahead, and often become overextended when there are too many exciting things to do.

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Porthos the Pirate in The Three Musketeers
Hawkeye Pierce in M*A*S*H
He hates doing nothing and would rather find the action or stir up action.

He is tuned into facts and details of his environment and especially when it involves people.

He is observant of others needs and responsive in offering assistance (although it may be done in a light manner.

Likes to help others in practical tangible ways (Porthos saves the king, Hawkeye saves the injured).

He enjoyed participating in the community and being with friends and family.

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Lydia in Pride and Prejudice
Rizzo in the movie Grease

She takes the lad to get everyone involved in a diversion to bring a spark to the moment. 

She is up on the latest trends and she likes to be the first to tell everyone around her about new things. Lydia always wanted the latest and best ribbons for her hair, and the status of marrying a military man. Rizzo was cool, she led the pink ladies in ruling the school.

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Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet
Cyrano in Cyrano de Bergerac
He is witty, warm, and talkative

He can charm and engage those around him.

He is a vivacious entertainer.

He enjoys sensory things around him like food, nature, animals, and especially people.

Has a packed social calendar, us positive and upbeat. He avoids conflict, preferring to turn the situation into something light hearted.

**Important to note- the life of the party appears to only be interested in having fun, yet each one I've mentioned above did something unexpected. Here are a few, can you see a pattern? Porthos the Pirate was the only one to shed a tear when d'Aartagnan's received his musketeer cape. Mary Clancy was the only one, besides the smart girl, to choose to stay at the convent and train to become a nun. Rizzo chose to keep her unplanned pregnancy to herself rather than "be cruel to the father". Anna from Frozen saves her sister with a single movement of her arm. Although they don't seem to show it on the outside, they have a deep conscious that cares on the inside. At the right moment, this component will show in an unexpected way. 

Let's see if we understand who The Life of the Party character personality is:

1. From the Importance of Being Ernest which character is best described as the one discussed today-- The Life of the Party:

 Jack Worthing (aka Ernest) or Algernon Moncrieff (aka Ernest)?

Think about you WIP or a previous work. Do you have a Life of the Party character? If so, re-examine your character's scene for a moment in your mind. Is there one or more responses to situations you could deepen knowing the above information?

Here are examples to help: 

2. Say a group of people stood by a bus stop and the bus was now late by fifteen minutes. This character is in the group and is very excited to get to a party. The bus is no where in sight. This character would:

a. Hail a taxi to get to the party.
b. Pace with the other unhappy bystanders.
c. Do something silly to make everyone laugh.
d. Go inside the coffee shop behind him and purchase something to drink.

3. Our character has met a girl he truly likes. He brings her a dozen roses and hides them behind his back. She opens the door. He:

a. Hands her the bouquet and says tender words to make her heart swoon.
b. He hands her one flower at a time, watching to see if she grins with each additional stem.
c. He become caught up in her beauty, stumbles with what to say and for a moment forgets to give her the flowers.
d. He waits to be invited inside/or for her to come outside and hopes she asks "What are you hiding?"

4. Which one of these characters would not be the life of the party character personality?

a. Katniss Everdeen (Hunger Games)
b. Donkey from Shrek (Shrek's sidekick)
c. Sanka from Cool Runnings (the Jamaican Bob Sled team in the Calgary Olympics)
d. Hans Solo (Star Wars)

answers: 1. Algernon Moncrief/ 2. c/ 3. b/ 4. a

What would happen if The Life of the Party personality discovered a secret code? Tell two things the character might do. Can you see how this personality would treat the discovery of the code completely different from Joker/Scarlett personality we discussed last time? You can review the first personality here:  Joker/Scarlett O'Hara character

Would this character be in any of your WIP? If so, take a moment and consider their scenes.  Did he or she respond/think true to their personality? Can you deepen the scene by modifying or including something, even in the smallest measure, only this personality might do? This is the writing that will make your story stand out.

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.


If you found any typos in today's post...Mary Vee, (that's me sheepishly grinning), is waving her hand as the guilty party. 

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.

Visit Mary at her website and her ministry blog to families: God Loves Kids. Or chat on Facebook or Twitter


Jeanne Takenaka said...

Mary, I so enjoyed this post. Thanks for sharing some nuances for the Life of the Party character too. :) I'm enjoying this series!

Mary Vee Writer said...

Thanks, Jeanne.

We won't have all the character personalities in our WIP. Only some. Last time you said you didn't have the Scarlett/Joker personality. I was wondering if you have a "Life of the Party" character?

Laurie Tomlinson said...

Some of my very favorite characters in this post!

In my current WIP, both my hero and heroine are life of the party types, which is new for me. But it could make for some good tension :) So lots of good tips here for me!

Mary Vee Writer said...

Laurie, great news.
And this from a 2 time Genesis winner!!!

I think it would be exciting to have both the hero and the heroine a life of the party personality. Just thinking of all the fun you could have. I want to read this story!!

Sylvia said...

I would love to read more Christian fiction with life of the party personalities. So many of them are too intense, yell, stomp, growl, and brood. Stubbornness is not an attractive trait and I never understand these heroes who admire the heroines for it. Oh, for some lighthearted, romantic COMEDY. Sigh... :)

Amy Leigh Simpson said...

Loving this series, Mare!!!