Day 7 - Personality Paradox

Today's blog is going to be a bit more "sharry" than some of my previous posts and it concerns both my writing and some personal development concepts I've been toying with of late. So, with that disclaimer...

"Who am I?"
No, not me, or really not just me.. but what makes a character, a person or an actor in life or a story? What motivates the players in the great game? What motivates me?

These are the sorts of questions I tend to dive into when I'm trying to develop a protagonist in my storys. I usually enter into a fiction writing endeavor with a general idea of a situation, a crisis and possible solution. I tend to be an evolutionary or organic writer - the characters change and evolve in my writing. my perspective on a player might be fixed in the beginning and end up completely altered in the end. I wish I could call that skillful storytelling - often it's just a factor of free expression and inconcistent execution.

I work hard to understand all my characters, to really get a feel for them. as a writer this is important but it's far more important to me as a reader. I expect a certain reliability in my narrators and characters when I read. Sure the inconcistent narratorr role is a cool one to play with and experience, but if I'm reading a story and the character suddenly changes in an unreasonable way or reacts unexpectedly but  without some internal logic I mentally cry foul and disengage.

I'm not a planner, as i mentioned above - I prefer the organic nature of my writing, but when I've completed the blathering and free writing exercise I realize that I then have a laudable job of going back to course correct and revise to make my automatons react like they should.

Writing can also be introspection for me and in the last few years I've experimented with some of the common personality tools and assessments to help me define myself. So, it seemed natural I'd leverage those tools in my storytelling. The general character statements of the Meyers-Briggs personality test or Jungs assessments help me crystalize the character I'm building. This isn't something I do with every character, but it's an exercise I find often grants me insights into refining and creating a believable person on the page.

I'm also someone who likes to take these tests and challenges myself to understand my own motivations and personality quirks and strengths. While I write other people in my fiction, each one is at its core only a reflection of my understanding of a personality.. and in fact they often are fragments of a greater or lesser part of me with other colorful trates to stave off narcisism. Who wants to read about every parallel version of Shawn Sines in every tale I write? Not even me.

So, I change the names.. sometimes the sex and race.. but it's still me or an aspect of me, even when I fool myself into using other people as examples. Fundimentally, I can't not think like Shawn Sines..

Which led me to understanding who I think Shawn Sines is.. and this is what I found out:

Qualitative analysis of your type formula

 You are:
  • very expressed extravert
  • moderately expressed intuitive personality
  • slightly expressed feeling personality
  • very expressed judging personality

Your Type is
ENFJ - Idealist Personality Type: The Teacher
Strength of the preferences %

SO that's me inJung/Myers-Briggs terms -and it's not so surprising.

Earlier today I took something called the Strengths Finder assessment - which is meant to identify your core personality strengths so you can focus on doing what you are best at and not fight to overcome what you are likely never going to be good at. Not a bad concept, and actually pretty useful for my writing as well..The core concept surrounds 30 key strengths and using the book I can pretty quickly build a reliable character personality and have some key points to use as anchors in development.

Once I completed that I discovered my key strengths (for those who might wonder) are:
1. Input - you crave to know more, tend to collect and archive inforrmation
2. Context - you enjoy thinking about the past and understand the present through researching history
3. Communication - you find it easy to put your thoughts into words.
4. Activator - you make things happen by turning thoughts into actions. Often impatient.
5. Woo - you love the challenge of meeting new people and winning them over.

No surprises I'd guess. I also find it interesting to compare these results to the personality type.

Anyway, I wanted to share these two tools I'm using in my character development and take an opportunity to share a bit more about who I am at the same time. I'm not sure this is my most organized blogg entry, so maybe I'll revise it later but it prompts me to ask all of you, as readers..

Who are you? If you're a writer.. What motivates you? Share and enjoy.


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