“The four types [of personalities] are most likely derived from the interweaving of the two most basic human actions, how we communicate with each other, and how we use tools to accomplish our goals. Clearly, what sets human beings apart from other animals are two advantages we have over them: words and tools. And what sets us apart from each other is the way we use words and tools.” — David Keirsey, Please Understand Me II
David Keirsey discusses the foundations that create the four different personality types in humans at length in his novel, Please Understand Me II (an elongated and updated version to the much shorter Please Understand Me, published several years previous).
As a side note, this book is highly recommended. When I picked up the book (recommended to me by a writer’s reference text, for use on creating “real” characters), I devoured it cover to cover. I then proceeded to annoy my family for weeks by relating everything in my life and in theirs to what I had read in the book.
His perception on different personality types and how those different types go through life is absolutely mind-blowing.
Back on the subject, one of the first essential points Keirsey makes in his book (aside from the assurance of four general personality types) is that humans go about their lives using to ways to interact with their environment: “words and tools”.
Aside from a slight ‘hoorah’ for all writers (we tend to love validation of our personal belief that words are pretty damn important), this is a very important realization when writing a story. There are only two things our characters can do other than think to themselves (and often streams-of-conciousness stories are filled with thoughts about…guess what? words and tools). Characters may use their words, either creatively or poorly, to attempt to get what they want. Or characters may use tools at their disposal (be it sticks and rocks, a ladder, or a brand new laptop computer) to get what they want.
So, you have your character. You have that character’s motivation. But do you get stuck on finding varying and unique ways in which that character can carry out their motivation?
Think on the words and tools that character has available. Mix and match to your heart’s desire.
What words and tools do you find you rely on too heavily? What words and tools have you never tried before?
- Adding Personality to Your Characters (sharonkowensimplycreating.wordpress.com)
- How Social Media Has Enhanced our Social Lives (sentimentofsuccess.wordpress.com)
- Your Personality and Writer’s Voice (onecoolsitebloggingtips.com)
- A Summary and Analysis of Making Sense of Leadership by Esther Cameron and Mike Green for Practicing and Aspiring Managers (bizcovering.com)
- Temperament, interaction style and cognitive dynamics (realmwalker.wordpress.com)
- Part 1: Personality Profiling through Myers Briggs (fmatt.wordpress.com)