ON WRITING

Remember writing doesn't love you. It doesn't care. Nevertheless, it can behave with remarkable generosity. Speak well of it, encourage others, pass it on. A. L. Kennedy

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

#IWSG July 3 - Personal traits and character traits. Style survey.

Hello all! 

Here we are again. Officially passed the halfway mark for the year. I like IWSG day when I can settle back for for my monthly blogfest. These days I usually only blog once a month. I spend most of my time writing, but I still don't want to let go of the blog like others have decided to. In my opinion, a blog gives more satisfaction than other social media, although I admit it is a time suck.

Alex's awesome co-hosts for the July 3 posting of the IWSG are Erika Beebe, Natalie Aguirre, Jennifer Lane, MJ Fifield, Lisa Buie-Collard, and Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor!

  Be sure to visit the
Insecure Writer’s Support Group Website!!!

I'm going with the July question: What personal traits have you written into your character(s)?


As soon as I saw the July 3 question I thought of the time I immersed myself in one of the wonderful Margie Lawson Immersion Masterclasses, a retreat I attended with 8 other writers awhile ago to improve things like deep editing, deep POV, character motivations, dialogue, visceral responses etc etc. 

The first thing Margie did was to hand out a Style Survey. We've all done those personality tests, right? A real pain as you fill out page after page trying to be honest, but not quite getting there. They're confusing I think. Anyway, Margie has whittled her survey down to one page - 4 colors - RED, GREEN, BLUE, YELLOW with 4 lots of 10 questions regarding personality attributes. 

RED - Driver - disciplined, efficient, energetic, keep others focused, impatient with delays.
GREEN - Expressive - outspoken, spontaneous, fun, generate enthusiasm, distractible
BLUE - Amiable - caring, sensitive, supportive, others confide in them, less likely to take risks
YELLOW - Analytical -  fact orientated, organized, may appear detached, fully assess before making a decision.

No surprise that I'm BLUE with secondary YELLOW. And no surprise that my female leads are BLUE with secondary YELLOW. Once I realized how 'me' they were, I did some serious changes!

Saskia, my mc in my Paris novel is caring, nurturing, not a risk taker and not spontaneous. So I had to change her as she progresses through her hero's journey and reaches her goals.

Her lover, Raphael, on the other hand, is RED - energetic, impatient, efficient and disciplined and very spontaneous.

Their different personalities make for some interesting conflict which has been at times painful for me to write. But to loosely quote James Scott Bell - get your characters up a tree and throw rocks at them.



Today, I publish the WEP/IWSG winners post. Yeah, I'm back baby. Pop over to the WEP website if you have time and read all about the tumultuous month we had, the fantastic stories posted and the wonderful winners who nailed the prompt, Caged Bird. Already I'm thinking of what I'll write for the August prompt, RED WHEELBARROW. If you haven't tried a WEP/IWSG challenge, it's a great way to sharpen your writing! And get some instant feedback. 




46 comments:

  1. Interesting how much of writers spills over into their characters.

    And we've had a proper reboot at the WEP :) very interesting outcomes there and hopefully a great momentum going forward.

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    1. I think it's hard not to Nila. I hope with you that we move forward with renewed zest. Thanks always for being you - red, yellow, blue or green, LOL.

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  2. Hi Denise - excellent post ... loved the coloured take on our lives and those of our characters - so true I'm sure.

    It's great you're back with the WEP - I'm really pleased, while your recent update with news and the winners of Caged Bird prompt is there for me to get back to - cheers and good luck with the Parisian writing ... in this heat - I can think of a few things?! Happy writing - Hilary

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    1. Thanks so much Hilary. Glad you enjoyed it.

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  3. Hi,
    I am most definitely red with green stripes! :-)
    Enjoyed reading your post. I think that it is a challenge to write characters that are deep because you have to get to know yourself and that means going deep.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G @ EverythingMustChange

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    1. Indeed it does Pat. I'd like to be redder! Which mean I have to change along with my characters.

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  4. Interesting way to break it down. I'm a mix of blue and yellow as well.

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    1. I'm finding a lot of bloggers are Alex. Caring bunch, aren't we?

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  5. I'm with you on blogging being the most satisfying social media. Interesting to think of what colors we are. I am mostly blue and yellow too but see the red in me too. Happy writing!

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  6. I never do well on tests like that. My mind goes blank. Great WEP this month. I was very impressed by the entries.

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    1. Thanks for doggedly pursuing the entries, Lee. Dodgy ole Linky Tools took the links away before some people had stopped reading. Well, no mor LT. Back to InLinkz.

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  7. I always enjoy personality tests. I'm a definite blue by the descriptions of these ones!

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    1. Which is why i feel simpatico with you Jemi - blue, blue, my world is blue, LOL>

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  8. That color breakdown makes for an interesting way to assess personality traits. I reckon I'm a blue, through and through... except for days I'm NOT. HA!

    Since you make a concerted effort to change your characters, does that mean you think it's a bad thing for your characters to be too much like you?

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    1. LOL Susan. I'd like to be more risk taking and assertive. My characters look like pushovers if I leave them like me. No doubt that would annoy the modern reader.

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  9. I really enjoy the IWSG monthly blog hop, too. And I haven't given up blogging either. I think I might start posting more again. We'll see! :)

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    1. There's still a few of we die-hard bloggers left Madeline. If you post you have to return comments which is what takes the time. So easy just to 'like' something on FB, but I find a lot of WP bloggers just 'like' something rather than comment. I wonder if they actually read the post?

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  10. Those four color traits line up perfectly with the book Personality Plus - Choleric, Sanguine, Phlegmatic, and Melancholy. (I'm a Sanguine-Melancholy mix. I'm an outgoing introvert!)

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    1. I know that book, Diane. I think Margie took that and put a fresh spin on it. I mean, those terms, Phlegmatic, Melancholy - ugh.

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  11. What an interesting spectrum of personalities. I think I'm a Yellow all the way, although I'm creative and always have been. That adds sparks of other colors.

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    1. We all have a bit of everything Olga. I'd like to be redder, LOL.

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  12. Sure run a good gambit at your sea. Making all characters like one's self probably isn't wise indeed. Chuck those rocks.

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    1. Ha ha Pat. Not the most enjoyable part of writing but what modern readers want apparently!

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  13. Ha, I love the colour personalities. Very cool. And helpful!

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  14. HI Denise!

    GEEZ, I have been so bogged down with "DRAMA," I haven't had any time to write or keep up with the blogosphere. BUMMER for sure.

    Now that I have my home in Orlando back on track, I can focus on finishing MK and hopefully writing for the next WEP and hopefully the IWSG anthology. Historical fantasy should be quite fun. Plus I really need to get off the MEMOIR merry-go-round and write for ME.... lol

    Glad to hear your "Paris" writing is going well. I'm sure you're working on a bit of Tuscany, too?

    I definitely put a bit of me in my characters... that's what brings to to life and makes them very believable...

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    1. Hi Michael! You're back. Wonderful. You're going to love getting back to your own writing. I'm concentrating on shaping up my Paris novel and shipping it off to Avon. I'm not publishing my Tuscany novels until I've visited Vipunin's home at Castellina.

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  15. This really is a handy little character guide with colours. Fascinating how you can use psychological tests to give your character traits. I like the idea of Saskia progressing and changing.
    The WEP was rather full of drama this time around and I'm so glad to have you back. Pat's story was a great choice and so was Elephant Child's. Honestly it was hard to choose. I was making notes as I read so that I could contribute to the People's Choice voting that we scrapped.
    I enjoyed your post as always Denise.

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    1. I'm sorry if you felt let down with the PC. Your story was much mentioned in discussions. Very atmospheric.

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    2. And I see nowhere to comment on your blog again Kalpanaa.

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  16. Thank you for sharing the highlights of your workshop with Margie Lawson. Colorful and an interesting way to dig deeper into understanding your characters. I recently read Debra Dixon's classic and very helpful GMC: Goal, Motivation, and Conflict (expensive but also available interlibrary loan). What Margie adds to the mix, though, is that connection with the personal, what we writers bring to our characters overtly or not. So, let's keep throwing rocks. Have a great month ahead.

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    1. Yes, Beth, I have Debra Dixon's GMC too. A very important book to make sure we get the conflict and goals right. Margie is really good with improving our writing.

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  17. I sometimes have to edit myself out of my characters to get them back on their own tract also. Wish I could do the same with Myself in real life, lol.

    Eeek, August is so close!!!

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    1. Yes I hope you can join us this time Donna.

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  18. Sounds like an interesting traits test and it obviously helped you. It is interesting how our personality can seep into our characters. :)
    ~Jess

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