Thursday, December 23, 2010
Who are you?
What type are you?
As a writer I’m always trying to learn more about characterization. I have this annoying tendency to develop story people who are eerily similar to me even though I try to keep myself out of my characters.
I don’t use any of my own experiences, or my personal likes or dislikes—at least not intentionally—because I’m writing about people of my imagination, not myself. But somehow my heroines often react the same way I would in most situations. Of course their responses seem perfectly normal to me. And that might be okay if these ladies are an introvert.
But many of my people are extroverts with bigger, more dramatic personalities than mine. Readers seem to love bold, vibrant characters. Their reactions are inconsistent with their personalities if they respond as I would. I’m more flight, than fight. My tongue is sharper than my sword. (And I do own a sword—my father’s from his Navy days in World War Two.)
So I have to watch that my characterizations don’t reflect my own quiet (I refuse to say mousy) personality. In the book Life Types by Sandra Hirsh and Jean Kummenrow I recently discovered more about the Briggs-Meyers types and how the sixteen different styles related to my story people. For example, I learned that Introversion and Extroversion preferences have to do with how people are energized.
Introverts have an internal focus and get energy from inside themselves—their ideas, emotions and impressions. They like to keep their thoughts to themselves, think and reflect.
Extroverts find stimulation outside of themselves. They talk about what is on their minds and love to interact with other people.
Just from understanding these few bits of information you can figure out how the two different personality types will probably react. Would an introvert or extrovert enjoy a loud, New Years Eve party? Who’d love a weekend of silence at a secluded cabin? Their work styles, relationship styles and preferences will be based upon how they get their energy. Two extroverts (hero and heroine) will be very different from two introverts. Or one of each. I can see lots of conflict and plot complications developing!
One group predominates. Which group do you think that is? I’ll tell you later. Whoever guesses correctly will be entered into a drawing for my second book in the Ladies of Summerhill series called Love on Assignment. It’ll be released January 11th, but I’ll get my author copies soon so I can send one out to the winner. Just remember to add your e-mail address.
I hope all of you have a very Merry and blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year!