General Discussion Personality Types in Your Characters

FeatherPen

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May 8, 2022
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My girlfriend has a Masters Degree in Child Phycology so we talk a lot about personality types. We primarily go by the six types such as Alfa, sigma, omega, beta, etc

In my character worksheets I always assign them one of these types so throughout the novel I do not get out of character for them (until the end of course), but was curious if others found it beneficial to delve deeply into personality types to enrich their writings?

Or am I just over analyzing my characters? (Ha ha)
 

Wes B

Mostly Harmless
Jul 28, 2019
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so throughout the novel I do not get out of character for them (until the end of course)

i may be misreading here, or making too much of a short statement, but I'm not sure you'd want to get out of character, even at the end. Maybe instead, you'd give hints that a character has enough complexity that they're capable of some change by the end.

A simple example in a story that probably everyone knows... we see Ebenezer Scrooge in episodes from his past as someone who'd deeply loved the fellowship of friends, but who also had a deep fear of poverty. This explains the character we see at the start of A Christmas Carol, as a miserly person controlled by a now overwhelming fear of poverty.

His change at the end then is not his going out of character, but rather his being shocked into releasing that fear of poverty, in order to resume the need for people that was always there, but held in check by his fears.

We first see a miser, and only later see a past that once also included a love for people. We may presume that the loving side is gone, only to find at the end that it was merely restrained for a time. He never breaks character; rather, he develops and grows.
 

FeatherPen

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May 8, 2022
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You make a very valid point

I had a character in a novel that stated she Hated children in the first chapter, but ended up adopting three in the last chapter, making for a funny and heartfelt change in its full context.

But is that character change? Or did she not really hate children in the first place and was just jaded for a period of her life caused by the death of her husband and son?

I guess that is a question that makes novels memorable.
 

Wes B

Mostly Harmless
Jul 28, 2019
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You make a very valid point

I had a character in a novel that stated she Hated children in the first chapter, but ended up adopting three in the last chapter, making for a funny and heartfelt change in its full context.

But is that character change? Or did she not really hate children in the first place and was just jaded for a period of her life caused by the death of her husband and son?

I guess that is a question that makes novels memorable.

No argument there. It can make the novels memorable if we can look back over the story and see that some process of change was going on. It's okay if we initially missed it; in fact that makes it interesting. We might want to use some care, though. If a person suddenly changes without warning or justification, that might just as easily be seen as mental instability, or even might risk having the readers feel the author has lied to them.

I like stories where I'm misdirected, but could have "figured it out" if I'd just paid attention. This is the stuff of complex character narratives, and from a different standpoint is one of the pillars that supports the entire mystery genre. It's a Swiss Army Knife that's useful in lots of places.

By all means misdirect, but when we randomly hide some important fact, we can sometimes wander into an error called a tomato surprise (worth googling, if it's a new concept...) It's a mistake we don't want to make. Some things can be hidden for the purpose of a legitimate surprise (life is full of 'em...) but some will feel like outright lying. For a satisfying surprise, we just want to hide the rabbits carefully.

EDIT EDIT EDIT EDIT EDIT - I just googled the term I mentioned, to make sure it was still in common usage, and found that it has acquired an additional definition that certainly doesn't apply here. You'll want to check out the one that applies to stories... <whew....>
 
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yawarakai

Senior Member
Jun 28, 2011
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You make a very valid point

I had a character in a novel that stated she Hated children in the first chapter, but ended up adopting three in the last chapter, making for a funny and heartfelt change in its full context.

But is that character change? Or did she not really hate children in the first place and was just jaded for a period of her life caused by the death of her husband and son?

I guess that is a question that makes novels memorable.
Sounds like Silas Marner, hated everyone only loved his money but in the end he loved the child.
 

FeatherPen

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May 8, 2022
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Sounds like Silas Marner, hated everyone only loved his money but in the end he loved the child.
It was a little deeper than that.

She was a lawyer but her son and husband had been killed in an auto accident. She tried to bring a lawsuit against the car seat company but the judge threw it out and forced her to be a guardian ad liddem or be disbarred. That was when she said she hated kids

In the end she adopted 3 foster kids
 

Zee

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Mar 1, 2019
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She tried to bring a lawsuit against the car seat company but the judge threw it out and forced her to be a guardian ad liddem or be disbarred. That was when she said she hated kids
Why would a judge do that? Seems a very strange ruling, for a variety of reasons. Maybe I don’t understand the full situation.

I wonder if you could get your character to the key story point—single lawyer taking on unexpected/unwanted children—in a more plausible way?
 

FeatherPen

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Yeah it is hard to sum up a whole first chapter in a forum paragraph, so I can see your point

It was not a ruling, but a conversation between the two while in chambers. It was more of a fight with her so distraught over the loss of her husband and son that she tells the judge off and gives him reason to gave her disbarred. It is in his compassion that he gives her the ultimatum: become a guardian ad liddem or be disbarred

It is all understood in the final chapter when he signs the adoption papers to 3 foster kids and explains his wife and him had also lost an infant and knew the heartache she was feeling.

There is way way way more to the novel than that, but I think in totality it is somewhat plausible

Maybe not though???
 
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Zee

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@FeatherPen, I can see you’ve put quite a bit of thought into this scenario, and I’m sure it would make more sense if I’d actually read the book...but I still wonder why anyone would force someone to become a guardian of children as a punishment/consequence for losing control in a stressful work situation. Would certainly question the integrity of a judge who would do that...but maybe he isn’t meant to be an admirable character?

As for your lawyer, if she can’t keep her cool when her career’s at stake, I would suggest she have some work to do before she’s ready to be a responsible parent. Maybe that’s the point, but I pity the kids...
 

FeatherPen

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You should pity foster kids

It is not the system god intended when he created families. It is a stop-gap method to a sinful world with much more gaps in the system then there should be.

Birth parents should not abuse kids, or buy for needs instead of drugs and alcohol but that is not reality. Just
Like foster parents should love their foster kids as much as they do their own, but that is not reality either. For SOME, a foster child is just a weekly check

I’m ready for heaven I admit. I have a son who is in the nursery of heaven to hold and a lot of scars of the heart that will not be remembered, but thankfully god waits because there are many more like me that do not know about Jesus. I am tired of here, but so are many people that will never be able to go there if he was to take the saved now.

In the end we win. It’s written in Psalms 73. In the end we really do win.
 

Ky_GirlatHeart

Taco or Pickle. Pick one.
Jul 25, 2020
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Hm...I like ascribing different attributes and interests/talents to my characters to give them life, as well as figuring out what they look like. And personalities do go in there as well; I can figure out which ones are wilder than others and which ones are a bit more towards the cinnamon roll kind of person than others. :)

I've never tried running my characters through an MTBI test though. Not sure if I could analyze my characters that deeply LOL!
 

FeatherPen

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Maybe: I really don’t know.

I am not trying to convince you of anything here as none of this is in the Bible per se, but if heaven is such a lovely place then what more of a bond could there be then holding your child for the first time even if it is by step-parenting. Foster, adoption or birth? I assume being a loving god, if a parent was robbed of that because god chose to use the loss in some way on earth, then maybe in heaven we get what we could not do here? God is all about re-do’s after all.

So while I could not hold my son with him being alive, maybe he is in a bassinet of heaven with other children waiting for their parents?

What a wonderful nursery that is I bet. Jesus was a carpenter after all and I bet my sons cradle is gorgeous!! The nursery even better because he has been making it for 2000 years

Now I say none of that is in the Bible, but one part is. When David’s son died at 2 years old, he said, “he cannot come to me, but someday I will go see him.”

Our young children await.

That is biblical.

There is always hope, and the hope of seeing my son is in every book I write to show there is hope despite loss
 
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FeatherPen

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And sorry for your loss Zee

When I did foster parenting classes, they told us that it takes 5 years to get over the loss of a spouse, 7 years to get over a loss of a parent, but a parent never gets over the loss of a child

I know that is oh so true

Again, sorry for your loss
 

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