Monday, May 7, 2012


I've been working my way through some craft books, the latest being Write Great Fiction - Dialogue by Gloria Kempton. There are lots of great tips and tricks in the series. One in particular stood out to me: The Enneagram.

Basically, Ms. Kempton argues that people fall into categories, and based on that, a writer can immediately spot dialogue which is out of character. The idea intrigued me, especially since there's a nifty test to type yourself and your characters. (I'm an investigator-achiever.)

Per the Ennegram Institute:

Type One is principled, purposeful, self-controlled, and perfectionistic.

Type Two is generous, demonstrative, people-pleasing, and possessive.

Type Three is adaptable, excelling, driven, and image-conscious.

Type Four is expressive, dramatic, self-absorbed, and temperamental.

Type Five is perceptive, innovative, secretive, and isolated.

Type Six is engaging, responsible, anxious, and suspicious.

Type Seven is spontaneous, versatile, acquisitive, and scattered.

Type Eight is self-confident, decisive, willful, and confrontational.

Type Nine is receptive, reassuring, complacent, and resigned.

The types are also grouped into centers according to strengths and weaknesses:

So if I'm a 5-3, my thinking center motivates me, then my feeling center kicks in. Anxiety is a driver for me, followed up by shame. So I'm an introvert who wants to "perfom well and overcome".


This is getting a little personal, so I think I'll stick to evaluating my characters instead.


Sarah said...

I'll be honest: it's always hard for me to abandon my training in personality psychology when I see these ways of classifying "types" of people. I think it keeps me from being able to enjoy them for what they are, which is a shame, because this looks like a lovely character development tool! Anything that helps a writer keep a character consistent is useful!

LTM said...

wait... this looks like math. :D Just kidding! It really looks like D&D... *snort* ;p No, this is very complex, but I say if it works, go with it! :D <3

Carolyn V said...

Wow. That's kind of cool. I wonder what I am. Hmmm. said...

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