Monday, January 25, 2016
9 Ways to Improve Character Relationships
It's entitled Are You My Type, Am I Yours? by Renee Baron & Elizabeth Wagele.
I've picked it up several times since then but only finally got around to reading it recently. Basically this book talks about the 9 types of personality, how they interact, what their motivations are, and what types get along vs. what types don't. So you can use them in friendships of course, but it also shows what personality type each type usually chooses in a partner, and what they value vs. what annoys them in each of the other types. So you can use this to write realistic personalities for each individual character, but then can also contrast various personalities to come up with realistic personality clashes. (How many of us could do that off the top of our heads?)
This book is incredibly useful and fun to read on many levels. Not only will you find yourself figuring out what type all the people in your life are, but you'll also start assigning types to various characters, whether they're the ones you've written or just others in your favorite books and TV shows.
The book also has a section on the 16 MBTI personality types, and then shows an intersection between that and the 9 named in the Enneagram.
So I'll go over these briefly, but to get a truly rounded picture, I would highly recommend reading (and buying so you can refer back to it as you write various characters) the book for yourself.
*Abbrieviations: WoT = Wheel of Time, TWD = The Walking Dead, AToTC = A Tale of Two Cities, GoT = Game of Thrones, LOTR = Lord of the Rings. (Sorry if you don't know the references. I stuck to people and characters that first jumped to mind when I read the book, or were put forth by the book itself. :D)*
Personality Types: Motivated by: Examples:
1. The Perfectionist The need to improve themselves Nynaeve al'Meara (WoT)
and live the right way. Javere (Les Miserables)
2. The Helper The need to be loved and valued Mother Theresa
and express their love for others Beth Greene (TWD)
3. The Achiever The need to be well-regarded, Steve Jobs
successful, productive, efficient. Perrin Aybarra (WoT)
Tyrion Lannister (GoT)
4. The Romantic The need to understand their MANY writers, actors, &
feelings, search for what is artists fall into this
missing, what life means, and category.
avoid being ordinary.
5. The Observer The need to know & understand, Daryl Dixon (TWD)
be self-sufficient, and not feel Sydney Carton (AToTC)
engulfed or invaded.
6. The Questioner The need for security. (Asks Anna Karenina
what-if questions, often negative Sansa Stark (GoT)
ones ie. what if something goes
7. The Adventurer The need to be happy, contribute Arya Stark (GoT)
to the world, and avoid pain. Matrim Cauthon (WoT)
8. The Asserter The need to be self-reliant, Will Smith
strong, and make an impact JD Rockefeller
on the world.
9.The Peacemaker The need to live in harmony, to Jimmy Stewart, Abe Lincoln
merge with others and avoid Samwise Gamgee (LOTR)
conflict. Loial (WoT)
So this is really just an overview. If you want to create REALLY realistic interactions between all of your characters, I highly recommend studying this book. I already have big plans for what I've learned.
How do you take on the challenge of creating realistic personalities for your characters?