Monday, August 27, 2012

Traits and Personalities for Creating Your Characters

One of my favorite books for developing character personalities and traits is Florence Littauer’s Personality Plus.

She describes four basic personalities - Choleric, Phlegmatic, Sanguine, and Melancholy.

I also discovered The Birth Order Book by Dr. Kevin Leman. He describes the four birth orders - oldest, middle, youngest, and only.

After reading both books, I realized that the four personalities lined up with the four birth orders:

Choleric - oldest
Phlegmatic - middle
Sanguine - youngest
Melancholy - only

Florence lists some of these strengths and weaknesses for the four personalities:

Choleric - powerful, persuasive, forceful, leader, productive, unsympathetic, proud, workaholic, stubborn, intolerant

Phlegmatic - peaceful, reserved, friendly, consistent, listener, balanced, indecisive, nonchalant, worrier, slow, compromising

Sanguine - popular, playful, spontaneous, cheerful, demonstrative, talker, brassy, forgetful, naïve, disorganized, restless

Melancholy - perfect, self-sacrificing, scheduled, deep, loyal, resentful, insecure, moody, critical, withdrawn

She also notes that Cholerics and Sanguines tend to be extroverts and Phlegmatics and Melancholies tend to be introverted. Cholerics and Phlegmatics are also unemotional while Sanguines and Melancholies are emotional. A person can be a mix of two personalities, too. (I’m an only child but the youngest of my cousins, so I am a melancholy-sanguine mix.)

There are many personality charts, and this one isn’t always set in stone as to how the personalities line up. But it does give one a good base from which to start.

From the list, can you determine either your personality or that of your characters?

32 comments:

  1. I like posts like this :-) I can never be choleric - I'm not any of the characteristics mentioned. But I'm a bit of all other three. But if I have to choose one, then it's sanguine.

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  2. I am a Cholerics and it really describes me to a tee except I'm not an extrovert.

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  3. I'm an older child. When I was little, I was an introvert. Today, I'm a little aloof but I can also be chatty. I'm a hairdresser.

    Excellent post!

    Hugs and chocolate,
    Shelly

    http://www.shellysnovicewritings.blogspot.com/

    http://secondhandshoesnovel.blogspot.com/

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  4. Cool stuff. I have a similar book, but it refers to the four personality types as colors.

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  5. Very cool, Diane. I love things like this.
    Karen

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  6. Well, I'm an only, so I guess I'm one of those dogs that help herd cantaloupes:

    A melon-collie... ;^)

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  7. Now these sound like my kind of books. Fantastic!

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  8. I love personality charts and I tend to be sanguine.

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  9. I recall reading about this somewhere some time ago--in college maybe. I'd forgotten about this. It's a good reminder for something to consider when developing characters.


    Lee
    Wrote By Rote

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  10. These descriptions are so true! I'm the oldes and very choleric

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  11. The book sounds like a great resource... a must-have...

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  12. I think my characters line up better with this than I do. Though the description of oldest is really like my oldest son.

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  13. I really liked reading this post. Thanks for sharing.

    www.modernworld4.blogspot.com

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  14. These are good starting points for character building. Great post!

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  15. As an only child, I have no idea where I would fit it. Something of a mix I would guess.

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  16. I am the oldest child and can see I fit so many of those traits. :) Great posting definitely enjoyed reading!

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  17. I haven't started thinking about how to use this on my characters, I'm still marveling on how well it fits my kids!

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  18. It's kind of interesting that these books (which are kind of self-help-self-knowledge books) help so much with our writing!

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  19. How interesting! I'm the youngest and even as you were first saying the four personality types I figured I was sanguine. I think this stuff makes sense.

    Jai

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  20. I took part in a study with Littauer's book years ago but had forgotten a lot about them. I think it's a great help to look at and create our characters with this in mind. I need to dig out my notes. Thanks for the reminder and info!

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  21. Phlegmatic definitely fits me, but not my sister. And sanguine doesn't fit my younger brother at all.

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  22. LD - LOL! I'm always analyzing people now.

    Karen, you need to find those notes.

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  23. What an interesting post... I can see myself being a little of each of those types, depending on my mood and circumstances.

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  24. Maybe I'm a multiple as I share many of these traits. That would explain a lot of things.

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  25. That would make me a Chlgmaguincholic.

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  26. Oh, yikes! I'm a little scared now. Self-analysis always freaks me out.

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  27. Is it possible to be a combination? I'm a bit of all of the last three!

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  28. Great way to start character building. I'm thinking I'm blending here, just like my genres.

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  29. I'm the oldest of two. I think I fit most of those traits, but sangine is not my sister at all...

    It's interesting though - another way to give life to characters.

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  30. Interesting post! It's funny how birth order affects personality. These characteristics certainly hold true for myself and my children.

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