Character Building / Writing

Characters are Like Onions: The Core of Character Development

We’re off again! On the long road to character creation, there is some comfort in having a starting point. In this case, we’re talking about the core of the character. The heart of the matter. The center of your onion.

Core Temperament

The layers of your characters look something like this

Plot vs Character. Jeff Gerke. pg 23.

A lot of characters have the same core temperament, what makes them different are the dominant traits they show and the layers we’ll add to it later.
But before we get to the rest of that, we have to start at the center.

For that, you’ll have to start with a system of basic personalities. I’m going to use Myer-Briggs (yes I know. Soo unoriginal, but watch me make it work). Another option might be The Writer’s Guide to Character Traits by Linda Edelstein, which focuses more on using one’s own emotion to create characters.

Myer-Briggs and You

For those unfamiliar with the system (I’m thorough, so sue me) … (actually please don’t, but be patient)…

Anywho! Those unfamiliar with the system should know that it starts by identifying people based on four categories.

  • Extrovert (E) and Introvert (I)
  • Sensing (S) and Intuition (N)
  • Thinking (T) and Feeling (F)
  • Judgment (J) and Perception (P)

From these, there are 16 possible combinations that form the basic personality types. Here’s an article with short summaries for each type.

After you’ve read through the summaries, hopefully you found one or two that remind you of your character. Once you have that ‘aha!’ moment of rightness, take some notes about your new found type. Get familiar with it and when you’re ready for the next step, look up my article on the next step: The First Layer.

Keep writing, Lovelies


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