Tuesday, June 23, 2009

YOUR HERO' S FATAL FLAW

Good Morning Seekers, I have the privilege of introducing Laurie Schnebly Campbell to our loop today. She is a multi-published author.
Her first novel was nominated by Romantic Times as the year's "Best First Series Romance," and her second beat out Nora Roberts for "Best Special Edition of the Year." Laurie loves giving workshops for writer groups about "Psychology for Creating Characters," "Making Rejection WORK For You," "Building A Happy Relationship For Your Characters (And Yourself)" and other issues that draw on her background as a counseling therapist and romance writer. Her book, Believable Characters: Creating with Enneagrams, is one of my favorites and a must for all authors.
Here's Laurie with

YOUR HERO'S FATAL FLAW

What fun to be at a site where the refreshments seem to get better every week! I’ll throw in some cake to start...

Now, back to the idea of fatal flaws for our characters.

A few weeks ago a friend asked me why her hero NEEDED a fatal flaw. Wouldn't an ordinary flaw be good enough? And I realized that it's misleading to call these flaws fatal...because how often, at least in a happy-ending book, does the hero wind up dead? (Okay, we won't count the gorgeous vampires.)

But unless we're writing about James Bond or someone else where the action matters more than the character, every single person we write about will have some kind of flaw.

Same with every single person we know in real life. And it's those defects, or the desire to overcome them, which can lead to some pretty interesting stories -- both in books, and in the everyday world.

You’ve probably heard of ANY-uh-grams, the nine personality types? Everybody is one of the nine enneagrams -- but we all have some of EACH type within us. In fact, we can spot types we know just from their names...the perfectionist, nurturer, achiever, romantic, observer, skeptic, enthusiast, leader, peacemaker.

So which are you? And which are the people who interest you? Well, let's see:

Type One, the Perfectionist, is a classic white-hat-never-black-hat who LIVES for Truth-Justice-Right. They hate mistakes; as perfectionists they get angry when they (or anyone else) doesn’t live up to their high standards. Trivia: they’re hardly EVER overweight, because that would be Wrong!

Two, the Nurturer, loves to be needed; they’re constantly giving. Great helpers who’ll go out of their way to care for others, and they take pride in being needed. If they go overboard, it’s a case of them forcing chicken soup down your throat because they identify themselves as Givers.

Three, the Achiever, is the golden boy or golden girl who succeeds at whatever they do and always looks fabulous. Even if they’re cleaning the garage, their hair is ARTFULLY messy! But they can get so wrapped up in the fabulous image, they might indulge in deception to keep it going.

Four, the Romantics, are never afraid of their feelings; they love big emotions...drama, tragedy, falling in love. They have glorious visions for how life should be, “scripting” what they hope for. If everyday life seems too ordinary, they fall into envy -- not of others, but of their perfect dream.

Five, the Observer, isn't interested in emotions, except academically -- they're all about thoughts, analysis, study. They keep to themselves, preferring comprehension over participation, and while they don't care much about material goods, they're greedy for personal time-space-privacy.

Six, the Skeptic, is constantly alert to risk (for themselves and their loved ones). Because of this fear, they're very aware of the rules and determined to always keep them...OR to always break them. Either way, they're deeply loyal and determined to keep their team safe, no matter what.

Seven, the Adventurer, is enthusiastic about everything and everybody, and they want to enjoy every possible new experience...to the point where they might be accused of gluttony. They prefer not to commit to just ONE of anything -- whether a favorite restaurant, a job, or even a mate.

Eight, the Leader, is very self-confident and accustomed to being in charge, running the show...always protecting that vulnerable core. Their lust for power can create trouble if someone else expects to share decision-making, but it also makes them exceptionally good at getting things done.

Nine, the Peacemaker, likes to avoid conflict, avoid taking sides...even choosing chocolate or vanilla. They’re likable because they can appreciate everyone's viewpoint, and rarely express their own. Instead they kick back with whatever's comfortable...sometimes to the point of sloth.

See how each strength has a corresponding weakness? That's likely to come out under stress, which happens in EVERY book. And that's only the beginning!

NOW IT'S YOUR TURN

I've talked enough, here, but if there's anything you'd like to know about the type of your characters -- or anyone else in your life -- I'll be checking back for questions all day.

And anyone who speaks up will go into an end-of-the-day drawing to win still MORE enneagram info...with your choice of free registration to my current yahoogroups workshop on "Creating Your Hero's Fatal Flaw" at www.WriterUniv.com or an autographed copy of my "Believable Characters: Creating With Enneagrams" book.

So I'm rolling up my sleeves and hoping I won't be the only person at the party today!

Laurie, with a big thanks to Sandra for inviting me J

Thanks to you Laurie for the great information. Remember to include your email address if you want to participate in Laurie's drawing. The winner will be announced on the weekend special edition.

116 comments :

  1. I'm trying to figure out which one (or several of these) that I am. I'll go a little with Nuturer and Romantic, but can you mix the two with Observer.

    I need coffee on this one, so I've started a pot.

    Please enter me. E-mail is wmussell(at)hotmail(dot)com.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Welcome to Seekerville, Laurie. Thanks for the fascinating post! Personalities interest me, real or imagined. It's fun to see how each personality type has strengths but also corresponding weaknesses or flaws. I've never used these types to develop characters, but after this post, I'm going to. Since we humans have some of all of the types within us, giving our characters a mix, along with the predominant type, should make for three-dimensional characters.

    I brought coffee to go along with your luscious chocolate cake. You know how we love chocolate in Seekerville. :-) And for those who can't start their day with dessert, I've brought raisin cinnamom toast oozing with butter.

    Janet

    ReplyDelete
  3. And then there are the combos. Nurturer/Perfectionist. So you get a chubby momma. I love this Laurie. Welcome to Seekerville.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'm trying to figure out which one I am too. LOL! I love personality stuff though and love to give my characters a major flaw/weakness that contributes to the tension in the story.
    Thanks for breaking all of these down! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  5. I've been taking Laurie's class this month and it has opened up the entire world of conflict for me. I'm the romantic type *blush* and all the drama that comes from learning personality types works for me!
    Please drop my name in your drawing for the book. usleann at hotmail dot com.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi Laurie,
    Tina raised the question that came up for me. What about combinations? I'm used to the MyersBriggs test and that is a combination of four points. I know I am having trouble putting myself into just one of these categories much less my h/h.
    Can you give us a quick look into this question?

    I haven't had the chance to read this book. Heck I can't even pronounce the title :) Thanks for your time here--a very interesting subject!
    Debra
    debraemarvin@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hi Laurie,

    I'm looking at 6 in a different way now and am wondering what would happen if a 6 failed to keep a loved one safe. Especially if that person died because the 6 wasn't able to keep her safe. How would that change the attitudes and feelings of the 6 (even if 6 isn't the primary type)?

    Thanks. Darlene

    ReplyDelete
  8. Laurie loves the enneagram and we love her for making it fun as well as a tool. I'm a 4, romantic soul, and lovin' learning about all the fatal flaws including my own. I'd LOVE to win her book - please add me to the drawing list.
    Sharon Marie
    srl0345@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  9. I'd love to win her book, too! I took an online course and really enjoyed it and learned so much!

    Personality types are so fascinating. I'm an observer, not as interesting or adventurous as some, but I pay attention to what's going on around me. I guess that's good, too.

    Anyway, welcome, Laurie!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Great post Laurie!

    I'm currently taking your "Fatal Flaw" workshop, and even though I've gotten a pretty good handle on the 9 types, your post today really drove them home for me. Your concise snapshots with an overview of both strengths and weakness is great. I plan to keep a copy of this in my brainstorm documents as a quick reference when I am doing my intial character creations.


    Thanks again for sharing this info and introducing this topic to me. I would love to be entered into your drawing: LaTessa25@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hi Laurie!

    Thanks for the very interesting post. I'm going to have to say I'm a romantic with a dash of adventurer and perfectionist thrown into the mix! So is my current main character...hmmmm.

    Please enter me in your contest: jstantonchandler(at)gmail(dot)com.

    Have a wonderful day!
    ~Jennifer

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hi Laurie,
    What a great post. Creating character personalities is pretty fascinating. I've been looking at Keirsey's temperments and those have been helpful too. I'd love to be a part of the drawing. The heart of a great book is believable characters...where would we be without Elizabeth Bennet and Darcy or Rhett and Scarlet ;-)

    Pepper
    pepperbasham@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hi Laurie,

    The heroine in my WIP is a skeptic but I'm not sure yet where the hero falls.

    Thanks for sharing this information. I'd like to be entered in the drawing. RRossZediker at yahoo.com

    Thanks you,

    Rose

    ReplyDelete
  14. Wow, I'm impressed at people who get started earlier in the morning than I do -- even on Arizona time, it's still amazing that the world is up and turning this early!

    Some answers coming up, and meanwhile I've started a file of names for the drawing...gotta get me some of Walt's and Janet's coffee and hit the shower.

    Laurie, looking forward to getting back here :)

    ReplyDelete
  15. Laurie,
    I did the enneagram worksheet (?) or whatever it's called about 20 years ago. I came out with leader and nurturer almost tied. Guess that means I'm nice when I tell people what to do! :)

    Your books and workshops sound fantastic. Thanks for stopping by Seekerville today.

    Congrats on your success!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Laurie,

    I'm intrigued by these categories, although it seems many of us have a lot of crossover characteristics. I can have different dominant traits, depending on what's going on externally (like whether I got positive or negative feedback on my latest project, for instance).

    Would you mind taking this a little farther and explaining who it plays out in one of the character's from your book "Wrong Twin, Right Man?"

    Thanks.

    By the way, I'd love to win the contest.

    cathy underscore shouse at yahoo

    ReplyDelete
  17. Laurie -- thanks for visiting Seekervile! Wish I could stick around all day to "play" as I find ennegrams fascinating & have several books on the subject, including yours (which I got at the "Well Red Coyote" bookstore in Sedona! And no, Seekers, I didn't misspell "read" -- this bookstore is in the beautiful Red Rock Country of northern Arizona.)

    By the way, Laurie, if you get the opportunity please tell everyone about your personal connection with Sedona . . . !

    ReplyDelete
  18. Hi Laurie,

    What a coincidence! I just heard you give this workshop in person at our Toronto chapter meeting in on June 13! It was excellent.

    Thank you so much for sharing your insights. I'd love to be in the running for a copy of your book!

    sbmason (at) sympatico (dot) ca

    Thanks.
    Sue Mason

    ReplyDelete
  19. Great prizes!

    I hate to admit it, but I saw myself most in the Skeptic and the Peacemaker, although I have those other characteristics too.

    Hmmm, I'm having trouble figuring out which one my new hero might be. He always tries to act very casual, as if he doesn't take anything seriously, and yet he's very responsible and can't stand to see a lady in distress. He's very moral and very wary of women, almost afraid of them--especially of them getting too close. He's also an orphan, having grown up without a woman's influence. I guess he's sort of a skeptic.

    Anyway, it's fun to make people up, isn't it?

    Please enter me in the drawing! melaniedickerson at knology dot net

    ReplyDelete
  20. FIGURING OUT WHICH (WALT)

    Walt says "I'm trying to figure out which one (or several of these) that I am."

    Which is right on target, because we're all more than one! Sure, we have one core type...but we show lots of other types as well, and some more often than others.

    It's easy to see our most frequent types popping up every week -- and that's handy for writers, because it gives us more understanding of the entire lineup!

    ReplyDelete
  21. I am totally 100% a romantic. And so is my heroine.

    My hero...that's the tough part. He's serious and kind of withdrawn, afraid of confrontation with his employer, although he does confront the heroine a lot. ;-) When he sees the heroine in a dangerous situation, he doesn't tell his employer (who's the heroine's uncle/guardian) about it, so when the heroine gets in trouble, he feels like it's his fault. I'd love any input here...this is very timely as I wsa telling someone the other day how I felt that something was "wrong" with my hero...I think that it was because his personality wasn't ironed out. ;-) Thanks!!!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Laurie I LOVE THIS. I am saving this forever!

    Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Debby are you nice while you're telling people what to do...

    or

    Are you only nice if they OBEY YOU.

    :)

    ReplyDelete
  24. 3-D CHARACTERS (JANET)

    Janet, you're right about how "giving our characters a mix, along with the predominant type, should make for three-dimensional characters."

    Enneagrams are a great tool for that, because the flaw in each type is a natural extension of the strength.

    We see that all the time in real life -- I love how my husband can take charge in a scary situation and make things come out all right, but I hate how he can take charge when everything's just fine. Same trait.

    (To be fair, he loves how I never get upset about things but hates how I never get upset about things.)

    So it's easy to make our beloved characters three-dimensional by just noticing their natural strengths, which come with automatic weaknesses!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Laurie, your Enneagrams class has helped me nail my characters’ personalities from the inside out…making it so much easier to write scenes for them. Instead of forcing them through a scripted scene, I can plop ‘em down in the setting/situation, watch what happens, and just take notes. How much fun is that?!

    Q for you: What type of influence does the Fatal Flaw have over the actions of, say, a “healthy, balanced” Type Six Skeptic vs a “struggling in survival mode” Type Six Skeptic?

    Thanks for sharing this information with all of us,
    Kathleen

    ReplyDelete
  26. MYERS-BRIGGS (DEBRA)

    Debra says "I'm used to the MyersBriggs test...having trouble putting myself into just one of these categories much less my h/h."

    What's cool is that each type has three subtypes (I'll get more into those in a fresh post) along with two wings and two arrows (also coming up). So nobody is really just ONE, they're a combination of eight factors.

    It's like astrology, in which you have your sun sign and then a whole bunch of other things -- you can tell I'm not an astrologer, right? But each new factor brings more depth!

    "I can't even pronounce the title :)"

    Ah, here's the easiest answer of the day -- it's like saying ANY-uh-grams.

    Laurie, wishing I didn't have to hit the road to work so soon!

    ReplyDelete
  27. Hi, Laurie:
    The class this month was invaluable. Once I get the hang of all the nuances of enneagrams, I know it'll improve my characters. Thanks for all your help. I find myself studying people now instead of listening to their conversation!

    Connie M

    ReplyDelete
  28. Hi Laurie--I loved your class and still use the notes on my main characters. How can I use the same strategies for my secondary characters without overwhelming my hero and heroine? Thanks a million!

    Sharon Buchbinder
    "Fireworks for the mind--surprising and sizzling!"

    ReplyDelete
  29. What an interesting post! I love learning about personalities.

    My current hero is an adventurer/achiever - he's a real hero and out to prove he can do it without God's help. . . thus his fatal flaw. In this WIP I wonder how long he'll hold out until he realizes he's not invincible!

    Please enter me in the contest:
    carlagade at gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  30. I am married to a retired AF fighter pilot who has at least 3 fatal flaws that could also be considered strenghtes. He is confident (arrogant), leader (bossy), and risk taker (crazy). As a reader of Laurie's eneagram book I strong recomment it.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Wow, I'm with Laurie, You folks are early birds. Oh yes, I guess you're three hours time zone difference counts.
    Thanks Janet and Walt for the coffee. Need it. I'm in Washington this month and the fresh strawberries and raspberries are to die for. I've brought a bunch to smother on that cake Laurie brought. Isn't it fun to have a guest who brings food?

    Laurie your any uh grams are so helpful.
    I'm like Debby and like telling people what to do. And Mary, I'm not nice when they don't do it. I think that's why I write. My characters are the only ones who listen to me. Well sometimes.

    And I do hope Laurie tells us about her connection in Sedona. Have any of you been there and driven in a jeep up Schnebly Hill?

    ReplyDelete
  32. i've done genograms with characters, but not enneagrams! very interesting...i love personality tests, and this seems similar.

    love to be entered...

    charactertherapist (at) hotmail (dot) com

    ReplyDelete
  33. SAFEKEEPING 6 (DARLENE)

    "wondering what would happen if a 6 failed to keep a loved one safe."

    Anyone, 6 or not, will feel horrible if they fail to keep a loved one safe. But since Six is all about safety and security, it's going to make them feel even worse -- since they're not as likely to have their identity vested in some other area as they are in protection.

    As to how they'll get over it, that depends on the Six. Someone who's pretty mentally healty in most respects will have a much easier time than someone who's not...and again, that's true for EVERY type!

    ReplyDelete
  34. Fascinating stuff! I'm a sucker for a personality test, and this one looks especially interesting. Thanks so much for sharing your expertise in Seekerville today, Laurie! I love the way the diagram delineates the connections/differences between the types. I think I need to get your book!

    ReplyDelete
  35. KNOWING YOUR TYPE (JESSICA, LEEANNA, SHARON, CARA)

    "trying to figure out which one I am"
    "I'm the romantic type"
    "I'm a 4, romantic soul"
    "I'm an observer"

    It's such fun when you DO spot your own type -- it just adds an extra dimension to everyday life. And there are lots of ways to find out.

    I have quizzes on my website at
    www.booklaurie.com/workshops_psych3.php
    (scroll down to handout #2)
    and you can also get them at other sites like
    www.enneagraminstitute.com or in books like mine or Renee Baron's "The Enneagram Made Easy."

    Piece of cake!

    ReplyDelete
  36. AUTHOR-CHARACTER MATCH (JENNIFER)

    "I'm a romantic with a dash of adventurer and perfectionist thrown into the mix! So is my current main character"

    It's a very handy thing, having a main character who matches our own type...what better way to really KNOW what makes 'em tick?

    Of course, after a dozen books it might be tempting to try some variety -- which we pretty much all do! -- but there's a lot to be said for understanding every nuance of the character without even having to think about it. Gotta love convenience :)

    ReplyDelete
  37. KEIRSEY (PEPPER)

    "I've been looking at Keirsey's temperments and those have been helpful too."

    Those are wonderful -- they're what I used for all my characters before discovering enneagrams, and at times they're still exactly what I need.

    Just the introvert/extrovert scale ALONE is a treat when it comes to creating conflict!

    Laurie, betting you can guess where most writers fall...

    ReplyDelete
  38. First, I have to shout out... Laurie you are one of the best, down-to-earth, writing instructors I've ever had. Without doubt, you gave my last hero & heroine wings. (or at least showed me how to glue the feathers on straight. :-) )

    Here's a new dilemma. (sorry no time traveling waterloo-hero-dogs in this one :-) )

    Heroine (single, 25, lives at home) is a forced-nurture who is a product of a perfectionist (an often ill) mother. (father long deceased) Knotted up in strict religion, limited views and mother’s apron strings, heroine has never ventured far.

    Enter hero – a divorced Adventurer pharmacist tripping into forty. Pushing for one-year sober, hero leaves the bright lights of High Society to re-open his late grandfather’s pharmacy in the heroine’s little podunk town.

    So, what does the all-seeing Laurie see? It is enough that my hero is just an Adventurer? Or is he innately something else, too?

    Nina :-)

    ReplyDelete
  39. PICKING TYPES (ROSE)

    "The heroine in my WIP is a skeptic but I'm not sure yet where the hero falls."

    Knowing one of the two makes it more fun to choose the other -- because you can bet there'll be conflict no matter which the other type is.

    Matter of fact, since you've already got a Type Six, let me run the sample of what COULD go wrong between her and the hero before they reach their happy ending:

    6&1: One's upset about something, but doesn't like to gripe. Six is aware of One fuming, and starts to worry. "Did I do something wrong?" "No, everything's fine." "But you're clenching your teeth." "I am not!" "Uh-oh, what did I do?"

    6&2: Since Six is always analyzing motives, Two's usual style of nurturing might arouse some suspicion. "You're not buttering my toast because you care about me; it's only so I'll need you." "I'm just trying to be helpful." "No, there's more to it than that."

    6&3: "This," says Three, "is the greatest plan ever." Six asks, "What about this detail?" "Aw, don't worry about it." "But something could go wrong." "Come on, you're not looking at the big picture!" "You're not looking at the details."

    6&4: Four is excited about a new movie, but Six isn't: "I'm not so sure." "Oh, come on, take a risk." "Not all of us enjoy living on the edge." "But you need a little more drama in your life." "You've got more than enough drama for both of us."

    6&5: Five's lightning-bolt experiment is almost ready; does Six want to watch? "No, wait, this could kill someone!" "Probably not, and in any case it's for a good cause." "Nothing's worth a risk like that." "Not even my life's work?"

    6&6: Neither one is quite sure what to do next. Things could go wrong so easily. Why take a risk? But standing still might make things even worse. They'll feed each other's doubts, and sensing each other's fear will make them even more anxious.

    6&7: "It might rain," Six frets. "So, it'll be fun to get wet. You worry too much." "You don't worry enough." "I'm just trying to keep things fun." "Oh, you're saying I'm a party-pooper?" "Why do you always have to look at the dark side?"

    6&8: While Six considers every possible danger, Eight prefers rushing into action against any perceived opposition. "But you haven't thought this through!" "If I waited for you to analyze every single risk, we'd still be sitting here next year."

    6&9: They're both slow to action. "You talk first," says Six. "No, you go first." "I need to think about it." "No rush," says Nine, leaning back more comfortably. "Aren't you giving any thought to what could happen?" "Nope. Here, you go first."

    You see how none of these is a life-and-death conflict? But each one can be intensified or relieved, depending on where you are in the story.

    Some conflicts may strike you as overly dramatic or overly boring. That's a clear sign that your story doesn't need such a conflict. (You may have enough already.) If you do need more, though, it's a safe bet that at least one of these examples will spark some ideas...and that's where the fun begins!

    ReplyDelete
  40. TIES (DEBBY)

    "I came out with leader and nurturer almost tied. Guess that means I'm nice when I tell people what to do! :)"

    You know, that's actually true! Leader Eight and Nurturer Two "go to" each other a lot, and they're both VERY conscientious about taking care of people who need help.

    Which gets us into the arrows I was planning to talk about -- that's coming right up.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Hi Laurie:

    Very interesting and thought provoking. I always try to find myself in these charts.


    I’ve seen dozens of personality charts ranging from two personalities (type A and type B) to three types , (Mesomorph, Endomorph , and Ectomorph) to the ancient Greek (four humors) up to sixty-four types. What these systems really tell us is how the author of the system sees the world -- not how the world ‘really’ is. (How the world really is has kept metaphysicians confused since before Plato.)

    While I think these charts are helpful for fine tuning a character you’ve already developed, I don’t think they are best for creating a character from whole cloth. I believe that if you truly know your character’s back story, you will know how he or she will react in given situations. By controlling the stressors in your story you can bring out the behavior in your characters that your story demands for maximum effectiveness.

    Systems are also confining and often come with hidden walls. Systems can inhibit creativity. It is wise to always be able to think outside the box. Flaws do not have to be ‘flaws’. Being truthful where it hurts to be truthful need not be a flaw. Flaws do not even need to be psychological. It could be a physical handicap that the character wrestles with and over comes in the end. Even fate could create a ‘critical situation’ through no fault of the character. Indeed, there is always a risk that when you follow a paradigm your plotline may become predictable.

    Flaws may even be universal. The ‘critical’ flaw could actually be the result of an action which would be appropriate behavior for any of the disparate personality types populating the behavioral charts. In the end I believe ‘the story is the thing’.

    I think I may be the ‘too serious’ type.

    Of course, I would love to read your book. vmres at swbell dot net.

    Vince

    ReplyDelete
  42. Hi Laurie, My current WIP has a six and a one. The hero is the six, the heroine is the one.

    You said:

    6&1: One's upset about something, but doesn't like to gripe. Six is aware of One fuming, and starts to worry. "Did I do something wrong?" "No, everything's fine." "But you're clenching your teeth." "I am not!" "Uh-oh, what did I do?"

    In my case the six is the hero and though he's nurturing it's in a very reserved but hard edged way. He's been through this battle before with a one. He's fully aware of the issues that the one has, and doesn't second guess himself. Sometimes he waits for her to figure out her issues, other times he moves in in a way that allows her to maintain her control but he is still able to nurture her.

    My one is very damaged emotionally, which conflicts with her achieving perfectionist side.

    My six has seen the darker side of humanity and waits patiently till the time is right to move in and offer a shoulder. But when it's necessary he makes her take that shoulder.

    My one has been a victim of the darker side of humanity and has sworn to defeat it.

    Have I got it all wrong? (I need to get your book out and revisit I think.)

    Gretchen

    ReplyDelete
  43. HOW IT PLAYS OUT (CATHY)

    "explaining who it plays out in one of the characters from your book Wrong Twin, Right Man?"

    Oh, sure, it's more fun using my own characters. :)

    For anyone who read that book, Rafe is an Eight (who's all about protecting the innocent and refusing to show his vulnerable core because he needs to stay strong) and Beth is a Two (who's all about caring for others in everything she does, as a way of feeling needed).

    So you can see where the conflict arises between someone who wants to be needed and someone who wants to be strong!

    ReplyDelete
  44. I'm also currently taking your class and although I am soooo far behind it has made a huge difference in how I see and understand my characters. They are actually now becoming 'real' instead of little stick people. (LOL)
    I don't know how you do it all...work, family, teach, blog..but I for one truly appreciate it!
    s_werth@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  45. SEDONA (GLYNNA)

    "please tell everyone about your personal connection with Sedona"

    Oh, that's fun stuff! For anybody who's seen that gorgeous red-rock country in Arizona, it was named for my great-grandmother (Sedona Schnebly).

    She and her husband came out here around 1900 and since their house was big enough for company, new settlers stayed there while building their own homes. So great-grandpa Carl got the honor of naming the new town when they decided to have a post office, and his pick was "Schnebly Hill Station."

    The US Postal Service said "sorry, our cancellation stamps aren't big enough for a name like Schnebly Hill Station, Arizona Territory -- pick something else."

    So his brother said "why don't you name it for your wife?" and that's how Sedona was born!

    Laurie, tickled when someone loves the Well Red Coyote as much as I do :)

    ReplyDelete
  46. TORONTO (SUE)

    "I just heard you give this workshop in person at our Toronto chapter"

    Wow, talk about a small world! That's one thing I love about writers; it seems like (for as solitary a bunch as we tend to be) there's a whole lot more connection than you'd expect from people who spend every day making up characters.

    Maybe one feeds the other, do you suppose?

    Laurie, off on a whole new track...

    ReplyDelete
  47. I'm a personality type junkie and love the list you've presented here. I think I fall into the perfectionist and peacemaker categories, which can present some interesting internal conflicts! :-)

    I'd love to be entered in the drawing. forgravebooks at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  48. HERO'S TYPE (MELANIE)

    "I'm having trouble figuring out which one my new hero might be."

    Sometimes one of the types jumps out immediately, as an "oh gosh YES that's HIM!" Other times, aspects of several different types all seem to apply.

    When that happens, think about your hero in some situation OTHER than the story he's currently starring in. Think about what he'd do when surprised by a visit from the Queen of England...from Martian aliens...from an unknown son. Think about what he'd do if he lost his job...found a treasure...lost his memory...found his family.

    No way is that all going to happen in the book, but it can help give you an idea of his approach to life -- both his strengths and his weaknesses. Might be worth a try!

    ReplyDelete
  49. Laurie, thanks for giving us the quick intro to a fascinating subject. Sounds like you're coming back for more. I really must get this book.
    My critique partner took this class and she's excited about what she learned.

    ReplyDelete
  50. HERO'S TYPE (ALEXANDRA)

    "He's serious and kind of withdrawn, afraid of confrontation with his employer, although he does confront the heroine a lot. When he sees the heroine in a dangerous situation, he doesn't tell...when the heroine gets in trouble, he feels like it's his fault. I'd love any input here"

    This sounds to me like a classic Six.

    He can move back and forth from "fight" to "flight" in the blink of an eye, refraining from conflict with the employer and jumping into it with the heroine. I'd bet this guy is always very aware of The Rules, whether or not he keeps them or makes a point of breaking them.

    And if he's an American, that increases the chances of him being a Six -- America has more Sixes and Threes than any other type!

    Laurie, wishing I knew the stats for other countries

    ReplyDelete
  51. KEEPING IT (LA-TESSA, MARY)

    "I plan to keep a copy of this in my brainstorm documents"
    "I LOVE THIS. I am saving this forever!"

    Oh, gosh, that's nice to hear -- thanks!

    There's a bit more information on my website, if you like this sort of thing...see
    www.BookLaurie.com/workshops
    and scroll to Creating Your Hero's Fatal Flaw.

    Or, heck, you can read the entire book on Amazon -- it just depends on how much information you want. :)

    ReplyDelete
  52. FLAW'S INFLUENCE (KATHLEEN)

    "What type of influence does the Fatal Flaw have over the actions of, say, a healthy-balanced Type Six Skeptic vs a struggling-in-survival-mode Type Six Skeptic?"

    This is a great description of both extremes. Somebody who's pretty much overcome their fatal flaw is going to be relatively healthy and balanced, while somebody who's struggling in survival mode is going to show more of their flaw.

    And that can happen throughout an entire lifetime. We've all seen it in ourselves -- when things are going great, we're pretty well-adjusted. When things go wrong, we may not behave quite as well.

    Stress can bring out the worst in people, which is why it's such a great thing to watch happen in books.

    Because if everyone in the book is perfect the whole time, what's the point of reading? Whereas if they wind up under some kind of stress that makes their worst side come out, and THEN overcome it, we've really got something to root for!

    ReplyDelete
  53. STUDYING PEOPLE (CONNIE)

    "I find myself studying people now instead of listening to their conversation!"

    Shoot, I bet we've all been through that -- especially when we get started writing, and realize how much fabulous material there IS in real life.

    It's so much fun to listen to the couple behind us at Starbucks, or the cell-phone conversation in the elevator, and think about the dynamics of that relationship.

    And bringing in the enneagram dynamics can make it even more fun! Although I've noticed, over the years, that I don't generally think "ooh, a Type __" when I first encounter somebody...just when they're doing something incredibly vivid. :)

    ReplyDelete
  54. I see myself as part Observer, part Skeptic, part Peacemaker.

    Lots of internal stuff going on in my head but outwardly I'm mostly just calm. :)

    Is there a Bump On A Log personality type?

    ReplyDelete
  55. I'm taking Laurie's class this month as well, and it has been fabulous. Even though I thought I knew my characters, nailing them down with enneagrams has opened up so many more possibilities. The conflicts between types and how they work through it offers so many more ideas.

    ReplyDelete
  56. SECONDARY CHARACTERS (SHARON)

    "How can I use the same strategies for my secondary characters without overwhelming my hero and heroine?"

    Actually, it's the same as using ANY personality strategies for secondary characters. If they wind up with more colorful "screen time" than the main ones, drat it, we know we've gotta back off.

    But in their private life (aw, come on, SURE all our secondaries exist beyond the pages) they can be as colorful and vivid as we want. Sometimes they get their own book; other times the world never gets to see them at their most exciting.

    But in books where the secondary characters really DO seem like genuine people, without overwhelming the main ones, it means the author has done a fabulous job of balancing!

    ReplyDelete
  57. WITHOUT GOD'S HELP (CARLA)

    "My current hero is an adventurer/achiever - he's a real hero and out to prove he can do it without God's help. . . thus his fatal flaw."

    Woh, it sounds like this guy could be a Three who wants to LOOK good, or a Seven who wants to FEEL good, and hang the consequences!

    Either way, he's in for a great struggle -- because it's gonna be really HARD for him to realize he can't do it all on his own. But once he's accepted that, he'll be all the more appealing...the kind of hero everybody wants to take home. :)

    ReplyDelete
  58. Thanks for breaking all these down. As Tina said, "And then there are the combos" They make it so interesting, don't they? Love it.

    This was great. Thanks!!

    ReplyDelete
  59. STRENGTHS-FLAWS (GEORGINA)

    "He is confident (arrogant), leader (bossy), and risk taker (crazy)"

    Great example of how the same characteristic can be perceived in two ways.

    My mother is a marriage counselor, and she always says that when couples first come in she asks 'em "What drew you to each other at the beginning? Whatever it was, I'll bet it's what's driving you crazy now."

    And it almost always is...because they've gotten out of the habit of viewing those traits as "adorable" rather than "annoying." So much of it is in our own perception!

    ReplyDelete
  60. GENOGRAMS (JEANNIE)

    "I've done genograms with characters, but not enneagrams"

    Oh, Jeannie, I'd love to know more about genograms -- that sounds fascinating. :)

    If you get a chance, could you post some more information about that...or where to find more information? Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  61. GETTING THE BOOK (MYRA)

    "I think I need to get your book!"

    Here's the easy way -- near the end of the blog, when it shows the book cover, the underlined title is a link to Amazon.

    If you get free shipping from Amazon, ordering there is a better value than clicking the book at www.BookLaurie.com and waiting for the PayPal button to load...otherwise my website is better!

    Laurie, a big fan of free shipping

    ReplyDelete
  62. PREDICTABLE (VINCE)

    "there is always a risk that when you follow a paradigm your plotline may become predictable."

    And that's the last thing a writer would want!

    Anyone who feels uncomfortable about using enneagrams (or any other system) absolutely shouldn't think it's the only way to create a great story.

    Writers all develop their own toolbox, and some use the same tools for a lifetime. Others try new ones with every book. Others keep a few winners and periodically see if anything else works better.

    There's sure no wrong way to do it...it's just a question of what WORKS for you!

    ReplyDelete
  63. ENOUGH (NINA)

    "It is enough that my hero is just an Adventurer? Or is he innately something else, too?"

    Being an Adventurer Seven could be all you need for this hero -- he might be completely well-rounded and completely fascinating with just that much information.

    (The odds are good, too, because Adventurers ARE fascinating.)

    But if you'd like to give him a bit more depth, take a look at his subtype. Which -- drat, I forgot the explanation of subtypes. That's coming right up!

    Laurie, who just has to hand out a rewritten ad (drat those ad-agency clients, anyway)

    ReplyDelete
  64. Hi Laurie,

    I'm trying to figure out where my current hero falls. He's the ever careful one, stuck in his ways, but trainable, protective, artistic, and of course very sexy. Oh, did I mention he can control fire :-)

    ReplyDelete
  65. Good grief, come late to the party and had to wade through 61 comments. Oy Vey.

    But I wasn't sitting down on job, I was nuturing my granddaughter and our garden. Of course I was tearing the garden apart with a rototiller too.

    That makes me a nurturer/protector type. I had to take down the weeds to save the vegetables.

    I was thinking about where I fall on the scale there. And I can see where we are either too tough on how we pick or too lenient.
    Sometimes we may see all the wonderful points and forget the side of ourselves our flaws.

    Then of course we want to do the same with our characters.

    Just mulling over all the information.

    Good Post. Laurie
    Thank you so much for coming by today.

    I shall have to print it out, unless of course you pick me for the book.

    :)

    ReplyDelete
  66. Hi Laurie!

    I'm really enjoying the Fatal Flaws class this month. I'm almost caught up, too!

    That's really interesting that there are more 3's and 6's in the U.S. than other types. I wonder if that's why I often feel like I have to hide my emotion-loving fourness. :) And I wonder if there are other countries where fours are more...acceptable/welcome/common.

    Daphne

    ReplyDelete
  67. SUBTYPES

    Ideally we all blend each of these three subtypes, but it creates more conflict (hurray for our book characters) when somebody neglects one or two of 'em.

    For perfect balance, we need to be concerned with the Me, the We Two, and the All Of Us. Those subtypes are called Self-Preservation, Intimacy, and Social.

    A self-preservation person is concerned with whatever they (and their loved ones) need for survival, both physical and emotional. Time, food, privacy, whatever's essential.

    An intimacy person is concerned with one-on-one relationships...not just a spouse, but every individual friend they have. They much prefer intimate chats to group events.

    A social person is concerned with their group, whether it's their church or co-workers or extended family or whatever. They put the Good of Society over Individual Good.

    And you can see how those can all be good things...OR how they can create problems!

    ReplyDelete
  68. NURTURING 6 HERO (GRETCHEN)

    "six is the hero and though he's nurturing it's in a very reserved but hard edged way."

    Sixes care deeply about the well-being of their loved ones. (Even if those loved ones aren't "official" loved ones like their parents and siblings and children.)

    A lot of that caring is because they KNOW things can go wrong at any minute. They're always prepared for the worst...even during a trip to Disneyland.

    Remember Liam Neeson in that "Taken" movie? Perfect example of a reserved, nurturing, hard-edged Six!

    ReplyDelete
  69. DO IT ALL (SHERRY)

    "I don't know how you do it all...work, family, teach, blog"

    You know, I always say this in my "live" workshop intros, but it's true: I never clean my house!

    I mean, seriously. Never. My husband does some of it, and I just look past all the rest. The only time it gets embarrassing is if somebody drops by and I see the house through THEIR eyes, but -- at least so far -- nobody's choked to death on the dust bunnies. (Whew.)

    ReplyDelete
  70. ONE & NINE (SARAH)

    "I think I fall into the perfectionist and peacemaker categories, which can present some interesting internal conflicts!"

    Oh, gosh, yes. Those two are each other's wings, so there's gonna be all kinds of turmoil when it comes to choosing between "stick up for what's right" and "don't make waves."

    Perfect example of conflict that doesn't need any other characters -- not that most books have just a single protagonist -- but if you get a character stranded on a desert island who's torn between Doing The Right Thing and Keeping Things Comfortable? Wonderful challenge!

    ReplyDelete
  71. I love this blog entry. I think I am the Romantic/Peacemaker, a weird combo, I know!

    ReplyDelete
  72. My fave romance novel hero is a combo of Romantic/Adventurer. The one who comes to mind from a recent read is Sandra Hill's "Remy" in Tall, Dark and Cajun.

    ReplyDelete
  73. EASYGOING (MARY)

    "Is there a Bump On A Log personality type?"

    Right off the top of my head, I'd say that sounds like a Peacemaker Nine who likes everything to be nice and comfy...no conflict at all.

    Or it could be a Skeptic Six, who can see all the advantages of not moving plus all the disadvantages of taking a risk.

    Or, heck, a One who's determined not to make ANY mistakes, a Two who's completely engrossed in caretaking, a Three who wants to be the best "bump" ever, a Four who needs a respite from drama, a Five who's wrapped up in study, a Seven who's discovered the joy of Zen, or an Eight who likes the high vantage point of that log.

    Isn't it fun to have lots of options? :)

    ReplyDelete
  74. WORK IT THROUGH (SHANNYN)

    "The conflicts between types and how they work through it offers so many more ideas."

    That bit about How They Work Through It is HUGELY important -- because if all we have is conflict, what good is the book?

    But when we see how people who might have problems comparable to our own (say, they hate to clean house or they're quick to get angry or they neglect family for work or any of the other flaws real people HAVE), it's so empowering to see them triumph over those flaws!

    Laurie, figuring that's why we talk about a Happy Ending :)

    ReplyDelete
  75. COMBOS (TINA & LYNN)

    "As Tina said, "And then there are the combos" They make it so interesting, don't they?"

    Woh, I missed Tina's comment the first time around -- but, boy, is this true!

    One single type is fine in and of itself, but when you spread out the possibilities, there's so much more opportunity.

    For instance, an Achiever Three who emphasizes their Nurturer Two wing is gonna be completely different from one who emphasizes their Romantic Four wing. Both are concerned with fabulous performance, but in completely different ways.

    It's just such fun to play with!

    ReplyDelete
  76. GIFTED HERO (ALEXIS)

    "I'm trying to figure out where my current hero falls ... did I mention he can control fire :-)"

    Oh, this is a good thing to mention!

    Does having a special gift or talent affect a character's personality type?

    No. But their personality type DOES affect how they use and feel about their talent.

    A One will want to use it For Good at all times. A Two, to help others. A Three, to impress others. A Four, for creative satisfaction. A Five, for studying what happens. Six, to ensure security. Seven, to have new experiences. Eight, to control things. Nine, to minimize conflict.

    So this fire-controlling hero could take all kinds of approaches to his unique gift, depending on which type he is!

    ReplyDelete
  77. TOUGH/LENIENT (TINA)

    "either too tough on how we pick or too lenient. Sometimes we may see all the wonderful points and forget the side of ourselves our flaws."

    You know, it sure CAN go both ways -- some people focus solely on the positives, and others more on the negatives. It all depends on what you want out of enneagrams.

    A lot of the theory books focus on the negatives, which I think is stupid. (Oh, right, say how you REALLY feel!) Sure, there are negatives to any personality, but there are far more positives.

    The only time I think it's worth focusing on negatives is when we want some conflict BETWEEN and/or WITHIN our characters. Then that can come in very handy. :)

    ReplyDelete
  78. FOURS ACCEPTED (DAPHNE)

    "interesting that there are more 3's and 6's in the U.S. than other types. I wonder if that's why I often feel like I have to hide my emotion-loving fourness. :) And I wonder if there are other countries where fours are more...acceptable/welcome/common."

    Ooh, that's interesting! I know every country has its own personality, so it makes sense that at least one in nine would be the Four type.

    For that matter, Fours are probably valued more highly in any area that thrives on creative expression, passion and emotion. I'd bet the theater, fashion design, and a whole lot of art fields are FULL of Fours.

    Their ability to identify with all kinds of feelings, and their willingness to share their true selves, makes them great counselors and teachers as well...what enneagram theorist Tom Condon calls "translators of humanity."

    Don't you just love that phrase?

    ReplyDelete
  79. AUTHOR-CHARACTER TYPE (EVE)

    "I think I am the Romantic/Peacemaker ... fave romance novel hero is a combo of Romantic/Adventurer"

    That's a good illustration of combining an author's own type with the most appealing part of some other type -- because look at what a difference there is between a Peacemaker and an Adventurer!

    And it's interesting about Romantic Fours...usually whenever I give this workshop for NON-romance writers, more participants tend to be Observer Fives. But when we get into the books that celebrate big emotions, a lot more Fours get involved.

    Matter of fact, the only type I RARELY see in workshops is a Seven -- probably because they're too busy having adventures. :)

    ReplyDelete
  80. Fascinating. We played with enneagrams as a family when our son was thinking about what type of job to look for. I hadn't thought of using them to create characters. Neat idea.

    ReplyDelete
  81. ENNEAGRAMS FOR JOBS (SHEILA)

    "played with enneagrams...when our son was thinking about what type of job to look for. I hadn't thought of using them to create characters."

    I'm always impressed with career counselors who find all kinds of ways to choose the best job for a certain type of person -- seems like it makes good sense to look at someone's personality first!

    Which, I guess, is true about creating characters as well...because we pretty much DO look at their personality as the book takes shape. (Hmm, wouldn't it be nice if every book came with a job offer at the end?)

    ReplyDelete
  82. OFF TO LUNCH

    Gosh, thanks to everyone for a great morning -- this has been such fun!

    I'll check back later to see if there are any more questions or comments, and post the drawing winner at the very end of the day.

    Laurie, afraid to even THINK about printing all those slips but suspecting it'll seem a lot easier after a break

    ReplyDelete
  83. Gosh everyone has been busy :-)

    I came out a tie for 2,4,5 & 9. Multiple personality problem? Quite possibly!

    But they all make sense. I'm a mother so nurturing comes naturally, I read and write romance so 4 makes sense, I enjoy studying and learning new things (hence all the courses I have done with you, laurie) and being the mother of 3 kids and 2 fosters being a peacemaker kind of comes in handy too.

    Needless to say I would love to be entered into the draw.

    cleary dot joanne @ yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
  84. Hi Laurie!

    I've really enjoyed your enneagrams class this month and your blog post here. The information's been incredibly useful and I can't wait to take more of your classes in the future!

    I'd also love to be entered into the draw - mcg_16@hotmail.com

    Thanks & have a great day,
    Maureen (a Seven/Adventurer) :)

    ReplyDelete
  85. From Nina

    Laurie said... "But if you'd like to give him a bit more depth, take a look at his subtype."

    Loved the part on subtypes. Great food for thought. Also great opportunity to juxtapose hero & heroine's stages of development.

    Without doubt, my hero's background needs fleshed out. What sent him flying so high that he nearly grounded himself?

    Nina, thinking (and hoping ot be entered into the drawing) npaules@nfdc.net

    ReplyDelete
  86. Laurie, Oh mylanta, woman, look what you've stirred up.

    Love the cake and Walt, thanks THIS much for the coffee. So loving it even this late in the day.

    Gotta keep moving.

    Laurie, this is so tight and so accurate. What fun insight into characterization and how much fun we can have by using these frameworks.

    And we were just talking about NOT being repetitive in Seekerville, how easy it is for authors to make that mistake when they pump out multiple books and series.

    Your base personalities are a great thing to add to our spreadsheet ideas.
    Love it.

    Hey, I brought a plate full of cheese and spinach stuffed puff pastry niblets. So tender and good.

    Yum.

    Just something to go with this late day coffee I'm craving.

    Ruthy

    ReplyDelete
  87. Excellent post, Laurie, and so timely! The part I like best is where you tell what happens on the other end of the spectrum when the trait turns into a flaw - oh, I guess that's why you called it 'Your Hero's Fatal Flaw', eh? hehe.

    I was reading the post, trying to see where my hero would best fit and when I got to the last one, my hubby jumped out at me! You've defined my hubby perfectly. So, he really can't help being that way. LOL

    Thanks, Laurie.

    ReplyDelete
  88. I love this article. It really gives you some food for thought. I tried to see which one I am, but sadly I think I lean toward skeptic with a little observer and nurturer sprinkled in. I'd love to read more about these. It's great for inventing hero's /heroine's.

    Please enter me too. E-mail is tameliatumlin@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  89. MULTIPLE TYPES (JOANNE)

    "I came out a tie for 2,4,5 & 9. Multiple personality problem? Quite possibly! But they all make sense."

    Absolutely -- and it's very common to show aspects of several different types, depending on what's going on in our lives at the moment.

    We ALL become Nurturer Twos when looking after a child, we ALL Romantic Fours when falling in love, we all become Observer Fives when working on a term paper, and so on.

    That's a good thing, because EACH type has valuable skills.

    It's just that, without any special demands like a child or a lover or a term paper, we tend to emphasize one type more than the others.

    That's the core personality we want our characters to show -- because there's not a whole lot of room between those book covers to show all their multiple facets.

    But in real life? We can show all the facets we want!

    ReplyDelete
  90. MORE INFO (MAUREEN)

    "I can't wait to take more of your classes in the future!"

    Oh, here's the handy way to find out what they are -- just email
    LaurieClass-subscribe@yahoogroups.com and you'll get (only one) message each month announcing all my upcoming workshops, both online and live.

    Laurie, figuring that'll satisfy people who like to plan way ahead and those who prefer the last minute

    ReplyDelete
  91. FUN FRAMEWORKS (RUTHY)

    "how much fun we can have by using these frameworks"

    Isn't that the truth?!

    Writing pretty much HAS to be fun, because otherwise why would we put up with the aggravating parts?

    And any tools that can make it more fun, or more exciting, or more accurate, or whatever, are a handy thing to have. Although perhaps not quite as handy as cheese-and-spinach snacks...yum!

    ReplyDelete
  92. CAN'T HELP IT (ANITA)

    "last one...jumped out...You've defined my hubby perfectly. So, he really can't help being that way. LOL"

    You'll get a kick out of this -- more women want to marry a Peacemaker Nine than any other type. And more men want to marry a Nurturer Two...hmm, what does that tell us?

    My dad is a Nine, and when my mom discovered enneagrams after 40-some years of marriage, she said "so THAT'S why he never wants to engage in discussions -- I wish I'd known that a long time ago!"

    It really CAN help, knowing that somebody isn't being a certain way because they're stubborn...it's just how they are. Of course, everyone is capable of change -- but they deserve a lot more credit for it when the change is something that really takes some effort. :)

    ReplyDelete
  93. NOT LIKING TYPE (TAMELLA)

    "sadly I think I lean toward skeptic with a little observer and nurturer sprinkled in."

    I could be way off base in thinking "sadly" means not liking the type that jumps out, but in case that's true...

    Keep in mind that NO type is inherently better or worse than any other! It's not like God said "I'm gonna make a few great people and they'll all be Threes, then we'll have those scuddy Fours and loser Fives and so on."

    They're ALL wonderful. They ALL have some weakness that can be turned into a strength. Which makes it a lot easier to like whatever we wind up being!

    Laurie, off to a client meeting but checking back again later

    ReplyDelete
  94. I discovered enneagrams during my last novel, and I fell in love with them. I'm a sucker for personality evaluations, so, of course, I just *had* to try them out on my characters. I ended up learning some pretty interesting things about my characters.

    ReplyDelete
  95. Laurie--I really liked your synopsis of the nine traits. I've studied other personality charts and love to learn more. Forming my characters' strongest traits has often helped me to stay on course with their reactions, especially when their personality is different from the normal way I think. It's a challenge to delve into personalities that aren't as familiar to me.

    Do you think allegory-type stories are the 'rule-breaker' in regard to a fatal flaw in the hero who represents Jesus? I enjoy the sublime representation in those types of books, but I have difficulty if the author wants me to believe the hero is perfect. Do you think a good way to handle the weakness issue would be to have other characters resent something in that person (such as too much compassion, too strict a moral code)? I also place most of the struggle to make the right choice in the hero's mind, which hopefully allows us to still relate to him and sympathize. Any other suggestions? Thank you so much for coming to Seekerville!

    ReplyDelete
  96. Laurie - that's too funny... I was going to say my hubby was stubborn but thought y'all might think I was being too harsh with him, but then you said #9 Peacemakers were sometimes referred to as stubborn. All I can say is... uh huh. :)

    BTW - I'd love to be entered in your draw: anita mae draper [at] hotmail [dot] com
    (no spaces, etc)

    ReplyDelete
  97. TRYING OUT (K.M.)

    "I just *had* to try them out on my characters. I ended up learning some pretty interesting things"

    Isn't that fun? It's such a kick, finding some new tool that makes characters easier to understand -- which usually makes them easier to work with.

    Of course, some writers say "my characters insist on doing things THEIR way rather than MY way." (Hmm, sounds like some parents talking about their toddlers.)

    But, just like toddlers when we respect them for who they are, knowing WHY they're not cooperating can make it easier to get 'em where we want!

    ReplyDelete
  98. PERFECT HERO (AYRIAN)

    "Do you think allegory-type stories are the 'rule-breaker' in regard to a fatal flaw in the hero who represents Jesus?"

    Seems like it'd be pretty contradictory to give a Jesus-type character ANY fatal flaw!

    But as for conflict, we sure saw Jesus struggle with that -- which makes it okay to see an otherwise perfect character face the same thing.

    The conflict could certainly come from "other characters resent something...such as too much compassion" or "place most of the struggle to make the right choice in the hero's mind."

    Still, if we already know the hero is meant to be perfect, there isn't much drama in seeing him triumph in the end -- same as there's not much drama in seeing James Bond defeat the bad guy. We already know this fellow will never have to change and that he's guaranteed to win; the only question is HOW!

    ReplyDelete
  99. DRAWING STUFF

    Shoot, when I mentioned printing out the drawing slips, I hadn't paid attention to the note at the end of the blog that the winner will be announced this weekend.

    Which I suspect means I'm NOT responsible for the drawing after all. (Whew.)

    I'll check back later tonight just to be safe, and will be happy to answer anything else...meanwhile, here's a big THANKS to everyone who's posted today!

    Laurie, feeling very much at home here in Seekerville

    ReplyDelete
  100. Wow, a boatload of comments today! YAY!

    I've got a Perfectionist and a Skeptic circling one another right now in my current historical romance WIP. I'm having such fun with them because they're so very different and each is buffaloed by the other.

    Taking a page out of Mary Connealy's book. Literally! :)

    ReplyDelete
  101. laurie and anyone else interested -

    the book i used in seminary about genograms was called Focused Genograms

    of course, there are many others, but i can vouch for this one. hopefully the link went through...

    ReplyDelete
  102. Laurie, you must be exhausted. I just want to be sure to thank you for taking time from your writing to spend the day. And you answered so many questions so patiently. Thank you so much. We certainly hope you'll come back soon.

    (and she brought cake too!!!!!)

    It's 9pm MST and I am up at 4 so leaving the gathering. But printing up your post right now!!

    ReplyDelete
  103. 6 & 1 (ERICA)

    "I've got a Perfectionist and a Skeptic circling one another right now in my current historical romance"

    Ooh, that DOES sound like fun -- because about all they have in common is an awareness of the rules. Not to say they'll always agree on 'em, much less on the ideal way to live, but they'll sure open each other's eyes to a whole new way of thinking!

    Laurie, betting the sparks will fly for sure :)

    ReplyDelete
  104. GENOGRAM BOOK (JEANNIE)

    Jeannie, thanks so much for posting that link! It's always a treat finding new sources for getting to know people...either our own characters OR real-life folks.

    And I'm impressed, too, that you managed to make the link actually come to life -- that's an incredibly cool thing to do!

    Laurie, wishing I knew that trick and suspecting most of Seekerville is already in bed by now...drat

    ReplyDelete
  105. "COME BACK SOON" (TINA)

    "We certainly hope you'll come back soon."

    Oh, gosh, I'd love it -- this is SUCH a fun group! There's a real sense of community, here (not to mention the great food), and it's been a treat getting to hang out at Seekerville.

    It's only 8:30 in Phoenix but I'm being a wuss and heading off to bed, myself.

    If anybody has any other questions, though, feel free to holler...either here or privately via the email on my website. (It's easy to remember when I tell you I chose it because I wanted people to Book Laurie for workshops -- yep, www.BookLaurie.com )

    Thanks for inviting me AND for all the great posts...I've really enjoyed today!

    Laurie, wishing I got to start every day with cake :)

    ReplyDelete
  106. Gosh Laurie, Its going to take a whole day to read all of these posts. What a great response folks and thanks a million to Laurie for her wealth of information.

    And you did tell us about your grandmother. smile

    I think I'll settle back with a cup of hot chocolate and enjoy the posts. Any cake left????

    ReplyDelete
  107. I am fascinated by personality types, so this was an interesting article for me. I'll have to check out the book.
    Margay

    ReplyDelete
  108. Conflict and flaws are my biggest problem, especially for male characters. You specifically call this "Hero's Fatal Flaw" so I was intrigued. I've known my share of caregivers and nurturers, adventurers and skeptics. Are the conflicts/dichotomies best in combination? Also, looking at the diagram -- is there a reason for the way it's set up? Some kind of hierarchy? Bet that's in the book, right?

    Thanks for the opportunity to explore this. My email: denire@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  109. I'm late to the party but I found this fascinating and so helpful! I'd love to be entered if it's not too late:
    srdietze@sbcglobal.net

    I'm going to have to explore this further: my hero is a leader/skeptic, heroine is a nurturer.

    Susanne, who's romantic all the way.

    ReplyDelete
  110. My daughter gave me your book for mother's day, and I loved it. Thanks so much for writing it.
    email is thereset@altrionet.com

    ReplyDelete
  111. Laurie,

    Your information is FABULOUS! I am taking your course, and LOVE IT! My character writing has improved 100% because now I KNOW each character has a definitive reason for doing what they do and say. Talk about a confidence booster...Thanks so much...

    Kathy

    ReplyDelete
  112. OOH, FUN! (MARGAY, DENI, SUSANNE, THERESE, KATHY)

    Gosh, it's fun checking back 24 hours later and seeing a bit of action still going on. :)

    I was torn between "don't answer anything else because your guest day is over" and "don't leave people thinking you didn't read their posts" -- hmm, possibly some good conflict there?

    Laurie, onto two more questions before calling it a day (but suspecting I won't be able to stay away long!)

    ReplyDelete
  113. COMBINATION (DENI)

    "Are the conflicts/dichotomies best in combination?"

    If I'm understanding the question right, it depends on whether your book features a solo character or one who's interacting with others.

    Someone operating outside any combination of personalities can still have perfectly good internal conficts...and external, too, for that matter. (Sole survivor of a shipwreck? Lost in the woods?)

    But someone involved with other characters will likely run into more trouble -- even if they each have the same personality type!

    ReplyDelete
  114. DIAGRAM (DENI)

    "looking at the diagram -- is there a reason for the way it's set up?"

    Yep, the connecting lines show which types each type goes to...those are called their arrows, and it's covered (I'm pretty sure) somewhere in the posts above.

    "Some kind of hierarchy? Bet that's in the book, right?"

    I like the idea of enneagrams as being a hierarchy, just because those are both such cool words! And you're right, it IS in the book...although I wish I'd thought to use the word "hierarchy," which I don't think I ever did. Drat. :(

    ReplyDelete
  115. This is a great post!

    Is there a test available to determine which of the 9 personalities a person is?

    In a book, would you go so far as to have your hero change from a skeptic to say, a nurturer?

    Please enter me in the drawing: edwina.cowgill@yahoo.com.

    Thanks for a great article!

    ReplyDelete
  116. TEST & CHANGE (EDWINA)

    "Is there a test available to determine which of the 9 personalities a person is?"

    Yep, there are quite a few! There's a short one on my website:
    www.booklaurie.com/workshops_psych.php (click Handouts & scroll to #2)
    and a longer one at:
    www.enneagram-institute.com

    But the most valid way of determining someone's type is to see how they stack up against the descriptions!

    "In a book, would you go so far as to have your hero change from a skeptic to say, a nurturer?"

    Nobody really changes their type...what they do is evolve from a less-to-more fabulous side of their type. But it's fine if a skeptic discovers they also have some skill for nurturing which they never expressed before because, yep, they were too concerned with security!

    ReplyDelete