I became fascinated by personality typing years ago. I see personality typing as a model of actual humans, meaning it’s a structure we’ve imposed on the messy natural world in order to understand it, rather than a real thing. For this reason, I think it probably works better on fictional characterization than actual humans.
In the past I’ve typed characters at the start of the writing process. Whether or not you have a large cast, it helps to keep personalities distinct. You probably already have broad characters in mind at that point. Reading through personality types to find ones that “match” can help hone the characters.
A few systems to try (I’ve provided a link for each, but there’s loads more info available by Googling, including zodiac signs if you’re looking for more arbitrary ideas):
Overusing the ol’ hammering heart? I write that way too. But recently I took a deeper dive into writing emotion via your characters’ thoughts and reactions, rather than via bodily sensations. The Emotion Thesaurus is a wonderful resource and a good starting point, but too much hand-trembling, knee-shaking, and trickling beads of sweat can become exhausting to read.
There are several ways to approach the writing of emotions and I tend to be minimalist. Too minimalist! I’m still learning.
There’s so much pressure today on writing for the market, writing for your ideal reader, writing for a genre so the publisher feels secure in how to market the book and the bookseller knows where to shelve it.
All this is important but let’s not lose sight of why most of us write in the first place. I think writers write for much the same reason as readers read. A reader picks up a book, and sticks with it, in order to escape to that world for a while. A writer writes in order to create that world.
For those of you who know me as the author of Song of Scarabaeus (Harper Voyager), thanks for following me to my new home. I write in several genres, from science fiction to middle grade to contemporary family drama. It’s this last one I’m working on right now.
The story of Wynter Wild has been buzzing around my head for a while, arising from my interest in music, family dynamics, bad parenting, lost boys, and one talented, bewildered girl who’s just looking for a place to call home.
A year and half a million words later, it was time to impose some order onto the thing. Book 1, Little Sister Song, comes out early 2019 and the remaining books in the series will follow in fairly quick succession. I hope you’ll come to love these characters as much as I do as you follow their story.
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