Monday, September 29, 2014

Exploring Personality: Part Three -- "What's My Type?" (an IWM post)

"I know there's all this talk about my charisma deficit and I have to admit that I'm not a wild, in-your-face actor. It's not my nature to be flashy or extroverted, and that's why I see it a great challenge to me as an actor to be able to play against type and shake up people's perceptions of me." -- Tobey Maguire

One of the most common ways that writers move the plot forward in their books is to have a character do something that would generally be considered "out of character" for that character. What this usually means is they have an otherwise "smart" character do something stupid. The understood reasoning is that, hey, everyone does something stupid now and then, right? Those things never ring true to me. Do you know why? They're not.

Stupidity is not the same as personality. That is to say, even a stupid action has to fit within the character's personality. That's not always an easy thing to do, especially when we need a character to act in a way that the audience won't expect.

This is where the Enneagram can be very useful as a typing system for your characters.

* * *

And this is where you need to click the link to Indie Writers Monthly. Go find out about personalities, maybe even your own. Do you know what number you are?


  1. Stupidity is not the same as personality. I'm turning that into a sign and hanging it at work. I'll let you know if anyone gets it.

  2. Tried to leave a comment over there, but kept getting a 503 error. Don't know what that means. Never heard of Enneagrams before.

  3. Alex: That's awesome! Take a picture of it for me when you do.
    Maybe that will be become a quotable thing.

    L.G.: I got one of those earlier today, too, but my comment still went through, as did yours. Weird Internet thing, I suppose.