Historical Post by Gail Gaymer Martin

Build a 3-D Hero Using Core Personalities – Part 1

Gail Gaymer Martin

Gail Gaymer Martin

Today I will talk about using Core Personalities to help create a novel’s hero or main male character. This information can also be used for females, but since most popular authors are females, especially those who write romance which is the largest selling genre, we need to put our feet into a man’s shoes.

Whether you write suspense, romance, or adventure, any genre needs 3-D characters. Author Mark Mynheir presented a workshop once on characterization and suggested the use of the Myers Briggs personality test to help create dynamic characters by using the basic core personalities and then wrapping a backstory history around him. Here is a site where you can check out the basic eight personality types used in the Myers Briggs test.   http://www.personalitypage.com/html/info.html

But let’s begin by looking a four core personalities from Terrance Real’s book How Can I Get Through To You. He suggests in his book that people have four personalities: Feeler, Driver, Analyzer, and Elitist. Now we can take the eight personalities of Myers Briggs and find these personalities there as well, but for writing, these four will provide a good basis.

The feeler is a person who reacts and interacts through emotion and comes across as warm and friendly. He avoids confrontation and always tries to put the most positive twist on every situation. He prefers intimate groups rather than a crowd and rarely initiates conversation, especially with strangers. When in a larger group, he becomes more reticent and only expresses opinions that are non-aggressive. His emotions are often on his sleeve. His body language can be emotive. Think Oprah.

The driver tends to be a Type A personality who is perceptive and therefore likes to control the situation. He is curious and enthusiastic while tending to pick up on the mood and style of the group he is in. He is verbal and quick-minded. His body action is animated. Some people might considered him overly-friendly, but he is naturally gregarious. He would be considered a non-conformist, willing to take chances if he sees the possibility of positive results. Think Bill O’Reilly.

The analyzer is organized, logical, and stoic. He is careful in what he says, controlling himself mentally, physically and verbally. Though he is pleasant, he keeps his distance and appears to need no one besides himself. Emotions are not for the analyzer, but intellect is. He is very self-confident and is not at ease in lighthearted or frivolous situations. Think Barbara Walters and Martha Stewart.

The elitist is aloof and feels superior. Although he appears friendly, he has a strong sense of his own importance. He observes his surroundings yet is detached from the situation. He can be charismatic and easily stands out in a crowd by his bearing and manner. Think Simon Cowell and Hannibal Lector.

Think about how this information might be used in your novel to build a 3-D hero using core personalities. Part II will add some layers to the core and pose some thoughts on how to use the core personalities to create great conflict.


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