Friday, July 13, 2012

Four Personalitiy Types For Characterization

Though I provided this information in March 2011, it's worth reviewing again, because it provides a major way to create dynamic, three-dimensionsal characters for your fiction. When you locate the various personality types in your story,  you can build quality conflicts that catpures readers and hangs on. Though I'd studied the core personalities in my psychology classes in college, A couple years ago, Author Mark Mynheir presented a workshop on characterization and suggested the use of the Myers Briggs personality test to help create dynamic characters by using the basic core personalities and then wrapping a backstory history around him. Instead of using the eight personalitiy types in the Myers Briggs, focus on the four
core personalities: : feeler, driver, analyzer, and elitist.

The feller is a person who reacts and interacts through emotion and comes across as warm and friend. He avoids confrontation and always tries to put the most positive twist on every situation. He prefers intimate groups rather than a crowd and rarely initiates conversation, especially with strangers. When in a larger group, he becomes more reticent and only expresses opinions that are non-aggressive. His emotions are often on his sleeve. His body language can be emotive. Think Oprah.

The driver tends to be a Type A personality who is perceptive and therefore likes to control the situation. He is curious and enthusiastic while tending to pick up on the mood and style of the group he is in. He is verbal and quick-minded. His body action is animated. Some people might considered him overly-friendly, but he is naturally gregarious. He would be considered a nonconformist, willing to take changes if he sees the possibility of positive results. Think Bill O’Reilly

The analyzer is organized, logical, and stoic. He is careful in what he says, controlling himself mentally, physically and verbally. Though he is pleasant, he keeps his distance and appears to need no one besides himself. Emotions are not for the analyzer, but intellect is. He is very self-confident and is not at ease in lighthearted or frivolous situations. Think Barbara Walters and Martha Stewart.

The elitist is aloof and feels superior. Although he appears friendly, he has a strong sense of his own importance. He observes his surroundings yet is detached from the situation. He can be charismatic and easily stands out in a crowd by his bearing and manner. Think Simon Cowell and Hannibal Lector.

Identify your main characters into one of the four categories, then build your backstory around these kinds of personality traits. Once you have this established, look at your major plot points and begin to build the conflicts that can result from these particular personality combinations. You will come up with quality conflicts if you do your homework.

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