Happy Friday, good people of the blogosphere! Today is the tenth and final post in my series on Enneagram Personality types. Rather than just have you typing your characters and following the Enneagram model, I’m going to give you food for thought today. You’ve been (hopefully) working through the dialogue exercises and have a pretty good grasp of how specific character types will react in certain situations. You can combine these types with an understanding of Human Nature and really dream up characters that make an impact. I’ll show you how. So grab those pens and notebooks and let’s get going!
Here’s a recap of all the posts from the series:
Type #1 - The Reformer
Type #2 - The Giver
Type #3 - The Achiever
Type #4 - The Artist
Type #5 - The Observer
Type #6 - The Questioner
Type #7 - The Adventurer
Type #8 - The Leader
Type #9 - The Peacemaker
I used definitions of each type from a book titled: The Enneagram Made Easy: Discover the 9 Types of People. That’s the link to the Kindle edition, if you choose to check it out for yourself.
So, if you’ve been following along, you now know what drives each type of person to do the things they do. You’ll also have a pretty good grasp of how these characters interact if you’ve been doing the exercises at the bottom of the posts.
Let’s talk about how to bring these characters to their knees, shall we?
Ones are perfectionists. This means they’re a little on the OCD side and they try to push their perfectionism onto others. They enjoy dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s. Think for a moment about what would drive a One up the wall. If you’re using a One as a main character, consider putting them up against something they can’t control or can’t change the outcome of; no matter how much they want to.
Fives are watchers. Rarely do they get into the thick of things. They prefer to read about things to learn how to do them rather than learning by trying. These folks usually have the right answer. But what would drive them batty? Being wrong all the time, never knowing what’s really going on, or even being forced to take control of a situation.
When you study the Enneagram, you’re looking for a deeper sense of self. It will tell you what your pitfalls are and how to avoid them. Character insight goes from surface understanding to truly knowing what your character feels, thinks, and how they’ll react in any given situation.
What else does understanding give you?
The ability to know just how to hit them where it hurts, make them sublimely happy, or change them in some profound way. Wait, change them? Why would you want to change a great character?
Every character is on a journey. They must change in some profound way from page one to the end of the book. Without the journey, you have no story. If you have no change, your character will seem like one that can’t learn from their mistakes. They come off flat. Using the Enneagram will prevent unbelievable change. Know what they tend to when stressed or happy. Put it to good use.
You should think about what kind of character you’re writing before you ever put down the first word. Now, there’s a caveat to this! Maybe you have a great character and don’t know yet what their personality type is. My suggestion is to use free-writing via dialogue. Sit down and have a conversation with that character. Let them show you just who they really are. Once you have that down, you’re golden.
As writers, we tend to base our characters on people we know well. We don’t even realize we’re doing it half the time. But we’re familiar with their personality so we’re in our comfort zone. Keep this in mind. There’s nothing wrong with doing it that way, just make sure you have the greatest understanding possible.
I hope this series has helped you in some way. Character driven stories are pretty popular. Think: Harry Potter, Pride and Prejudice, or the Percy Jackson series.
How will you use the Enneagram? For personal or writing purposes?
Well, that’s all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!