The advantage to figuring out what kind of personality your main character/s has or have is: you will better understand what he/she will do in every scene in your story.
We cannot make these things up. There is a rhythm that makes sense and flows. If we step outside of what is expected for a given personality, the readers will no longer trust the story and may put the book down.
For example, no matter what wonderful person a Joker/Scarlett O'hare character dates, he/she will not be satisfied with a bouquet of flowers or other traditionally sentimental object for a gift. Could Brett have won Scarlet's affections with roses? No. Would Joker be touched by a home cooked meal? No.
Knowing what is typically in the heart and mind of a character will give validity to your character's actions. The reader will engage in a story that makes sense. And don't be afraid to let your character be true to himself. If he is a jerk but also an introvert, make sure the specific jerk behavior matches what an introvert would do.
Before the story begins, the writer needs to get to know their character and determine their personality. This knowledge will not only help when blank pages face you, but also will make the story believable. In the last three classes we have discussed three different character types. There will be a total of sixteen. A list of previous class links is at the end of this post.
Today we will look at the "Thinker" character.
He has an unbelievable drive to finish whatever he starts, even if forced to do something he doesn't like. Against his will, Jack Ryan had to give a presentation to a board of VIPs, he had to ride in a shaky military helicopter, etc.
He is logical. Lives to make plans. Organizes things. He is focused on the one task at hand and notices things others do not--like Sherlock Holmes
She is serious. Tasks and goals are accomplished in a clear path.
If she has to be at a party she will find ways to not engage in the social aspects. She may pick up a coat and put it away-not because she is helping or likes to do behind the scenes work, but because she is looking for an excuse to get away from the crowd. She may also be in the corner using her cell phone as the reason she isn't talking. "I have a message."
She is a hard worker.
He is no nonsense and has a head for details
He prefers utility not fashion.
Likes trivial pursuit, computer games, watching sports events, and pursues physical fitness. Plays solitary sports like golf.
He is most comfortable in familiar surroundings.
He values predictability over imagination and wants to maintain social order
He likes clear guidelines and follows them.
Likes to stay out of the spotlight and doesn't like to be recognized for doing what simply needs to be done.
Can be an administrator, work in finance or medicine. But he is shy when called to supervise others.
Knows where he belongs in life.
Frustrated by those who like to do things different than the norm.
Do you have a thinker/organizer in your WIP?
Reed Richards from Fantastic 4 struggled to stay focused in his relationship. He dated the gorgeous girl, the one everyone else loved. But ideas for projects popped in his head all the time, yanking him away from even his wedding vows!
Professor Henry Jones' relationship with his son didn't include tossing a baseball or going to activities together. Instead he'd tell Indiana to say the Latin alphabet--backwards and then return to his own work.
Dr. Temperance "Bones" Brennan decided she reached the age when her clock would be ticking. She decided she needed to have a child but didn't want to have a relationship. This was something humans did and needed to be checked off her list. Just have the child, raise it. Get the job done. No emotions.
The thinker/organizer is sorely lacking in social skills and sadly is rather clueless about it. These characters, the Sheldons from The Big Bang Theory and others, are ripe for comedy. This character honestly just doesn't get it when social interaction is involved. He or she also does not understand why others are not on the same thinking plane as they are.
If you need a comic relief, a spark of humor, infuse in your story a thinker/organizer. He doesn't need to be the main character. He can be a bookbinder, the detective, the medical examiner, the teacher, postal worker, etc. This person could literally hop into any career, any place because hard times even fall on the very intellectual.
Ready to play a game?
1. Which would the thinker/organizer most likely do:
a. go to the Super Bowl with his friends
b. go to a church potluck
c. walk on a beach, take her shoes off and enjoy the sand between her toes
d. sniff a flower handed to her and analyze the chemical components rather than say thank you.
2. What is the thinker/organizer's favorite sport?
b. Rock Climbing
3. What is the thinker/organizer's favorite meal?
a. Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich
c. Lunch? In a minute.
d. Whatever's in the fridge
4. The thinker/organizer's caring family kidnaps her for a sunny weekend at a Gulf condo on the beach. Despite their best efforts, she...
a. spends her time working on a tan
b. working in the kitchen with Mom and Sis
c. sleeps in
d. is up at 5 am walking on the beach, assessing the height variance and duration of different waves.
How did you do? Here are the answers:Answers: 1. d 2. b 3. c 4.d
Links to previous classes:
Class 1: The Outgoing.Observant.Outspoken. Joker/Scarlett O'Hara character
Class 2: The Life of the Party
Class 3: The Composed and Sensitive Personality
Feel free to ask questions in the comment section! I hope to see you at our next class in two weeks.
Question: Why would a Thinker.Organizer be a great addition to: (pick one)
A bible study
A romantic dinner
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.