Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Believable Characters have Distinct Personalities

Could your characters have more depth? 

Successful filmmakers, playwrights, novelists, and memoirists have been using the Enneagram for years to develop believable characters.

Whether writing about people you know in memoir or using family members, friends, acquaintances or other models for fictional characters, you’ll benefit from deeper understanding of nine different personality patterns with characteristic motivations and growth potential.

I'm Mary Bast, literary journal editor, author, personality expert, and I can help you fine-tune your character descriptions, dialogue, and actions. Read these blog posts, including the links, then contact me at marybast[at]gmail.com. I'll show you how to enhance depiction of your key characters by deepening your understanding of nine very different personality styles. 


Monday, October 31, 2016

Deepening Character Descriptions in Fiction and Memoir

In Iris Murdoch’s novel The Green Knight, Clement considers the qualities of Louise Anderson, whom he’s loved from afar:

“. . . she instinctively made all things better, speaking no evil, disarming hostility, turning ill away, making peace: her gentleness, which made her seem, sometimes, to some people, weak, insipid, dull. ‘She’s not exactly a strong drink!’ someone said.”

What a beautifully condensed metaphor: “She’s not exactly a strong drink.” Murdoch’s deep insight extends far beyond the usual guidelines for deepening character descriptions. In contrast, you’ve perhaps been asked to critique a beginning writer’s work, where characters seem flat and their voices similar, making it hard to distinguish among them.

A system called the Enneagram — long a favorite guide for transformation among therapists, coaches, and spiritual directors — is now being used by writers and screenwriters as a powerful tool to develop original and dimensional characters. Gloria Kempton, for example, offers a ten-week online workshop, Create Story Characters Using the Enneagram.

According to Judith Searle, author of The Literary Enneagram: Characters from the Inside Out, knowledge of this model can help writers create “credible character arcs and character-driven plot twists that seem both inevitable and surprising.” Familiarity with the nine Enneagram personality patterns “can help us sharpen conflicts between characters to make dramatic situations more compelling.”

As a writer and Enneagram coach, I’ll share some ideas to stimulate your thinking about character development. Whether writing about people you know in memoir or using family members, friends, and acquaintances as models for fiction, you’ll benefit from deeper understanding of characteristic motivations, personality patterns, and growth potential.

First, a quick overview, then in future posts I’ll delve into each of the nine with examples from published work.

Here in a nutshell are the Enneagram personality styles when stuck in their habitual behaviors. As in personal growth, a character arc would show an increase in self-awareness, but we’re first drawn to imperfect, flawed goodness:

Personality Style One (“Reformer”): Their gift is the ability to see and work toward perfection. They often see only what’s wrong, what needs fixing; their perfectionism is driven by a fix-it kind of anger, a rejection of something less than the ideal of what should be (Isabelle Goodrow in Elizabeth Strout's Amy & Isabelle; Ralph Nader, An Unreasonable Man).

Personality Style Two (“Helper”): Their gift is the ability to anticipate and tend to someone else’s needs; they may lose themselves because they’re so intent on taking care of others. It’s difficult for them to admit their own needs and they can be manipulative (Dennis Lynch in Alice McDermott's Charming Billy, Annie Wilkes in Stephen King's Misery, Marge Piercy's memoir Sleeping with Cats).

Personality Style Three (“Achiever”): Their gift is the drive to succeed in attaining a goal. This can become competitive striving that robs them of their souls. Success is measured in the eyes of others, and they may be ruthless in search of it (Lennox Lewis in his memoir Lennox, Tom Ripley in Patricia Highsmith's The Talented Mr. Ripley).

Personality Style Four (“Individualist”): Their gift is a passion for creativity, emotional depth, and a profound desire for authenticity, accompanied by a fear of being ordinary. They may be stuck in melancholy, feeling different or flawed (Diane Arbus in Arthur Lebow's biography Diane Arbus: Portrait of a Photographer, Sarah Woodruff in John Fowles’s The French Lieutenant’s Woman).

Personality Style Five (“Investigator”): Their gift is the ability to conceptualize/master knowledge and they tend to value intellect more than the physical side of life. They may be emotionally remote or socially awkward (Robert Hendricks in Sebastian Faulks' Where My Heart Used to Beat, Jane Goodall in Reason for Hope: A Spiritual Journey and Jane Goodall: The Woman Who Redefined Man).

Personality Style Six (“Loyalist”): Their gift is loyalty, which causes them to question their own inner power and to anxiously anticipate anything that could go wrong. They look to the group for security, rules, and norms, yet paradoxically are often the ones to challenge authority (Isabel Moore in Mary Gordon’s Final Payments, Rudy Baylor in John Grisham’s The Rainmaker).

Personality Style Seven (“Enthusiast”): Their gift is positive, energetic, upbeat energy, which can cause frustration when things slow down. They’re gluttons for pleasure, variety, and novelty to the point of having little tolerance for boredom or discomfort of any kind (Randle Patrick McMurphy in Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Holly Golightly in Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s).

Personality Style Eight (“Challenger”): Their gift is a natural confidence and ability to take charge, and they’ll claim power whether others like it or not. They’re driven to excess — more is better. The thrill is in the hunt, so they tend to stir things up to add spice to a situation (V. I. Warshawski in Sara Paretsky’s Blood Shot, Don Vito Corleone in Mario Puzo’s The Godfather).

Personality Style Nine (“Peacemaker”): Their gift is in being calm, easy-going, and capable of understanding divergent opinions. They may avoid anything that could upset their sense of inner peace. They may be passive or passive-aggressive. (Bob Slocum in Joseph Heller’s Something Happened, Louise Anderson in Iris Murdoch’s The Green Knight).

This last description of Enneagram personality style Nine brings us back to the beginning quote describing Murdoch’s character Louise Anderson. Her calmness, gentleness, avoidance of conflict, speaking no evil, and disarming all hostility made her seem “weak, insipid, dull” to some people. But how interesting she is as a character.


Sunday, October 30, 2016

Impeccably Dressed: Enneagram Style One

Being the boss's secretary gave Isabelle Goodrow a status different from the other women in the room, but she was different anyway. For example, she was impeccably dressed; even in this heat she wore pantyhose . . . simply sat at her desk with her knees together, her shoulders back, and typed away at a steady pace.
In these few words from Elizabeth Strout's novel, Amy and Isabelle, we begin to see Isabelle's character, prim and perfectionistic.

As with all good writers, however, Strout doesn't rely on telling us about her character; she shows us with simple actions, as above and in the novel when Isabelle first arrives home from work:
The geraniums on the windowsill over the sink had bright red heads of bloom the size of softballs, but two more leaves had turned yellow. Isabelle, dropping her keys on the table, noticed this immediately and went to pluck them off.
Isabelle's response to her geraniums is similar to Susan Fromberg Shaeffer's pondering of daffodils in "Confession in April:" 
Dear Lord, I have sinned against thee.
For I do not love all flowers equally.
For daffodils have come up in my yard instead of tulips.
For I hate their stupid yellow faces . . .
For in truth, my will is not done.
In "Deepening Character Descriptions in Fiction and Memoir," I suggested you can develop more multi-dimensional characters by learning about Enneagram personality styles. In this post, let's focus on personality style One ("Reformers"), whose gift is the ability to see and work toward perfection. Their attention goes to what needs fixing, as when Isabelle notices and immediately plucks two yellow leaves. This perfectionism is driven by a form of anger that rejects whatever fails to meet their ideal of what should be ("daffodils have come in my yard instead of tulips").
 

Judith Searle (The Literary Enneagram) describes the emotional constraint of this character type, a constraint we’ve already seen in Isabelle, sitting at her desk typing at a steady pace in the extreme heat. Searle further explains how these people “tend to be unforgiving of mistakes — both their own and others'.” They believe others’ errors “arise from their moral defects” and “try to impose their will through moral superiority.”

So far, Strout’s Isabelle seems to fit the Reformer personality style—self-disciplined, well-organized, and unpretentious. If so, we should hear judgments in her language and internal dialogue about what’s right and wrong, as well as a tinge of anger. These qualities become quite evident by page 14 of the novel, while she’s sitting at dinner with her 16-year-old daughter, Amy:
Use your napkin, please.” She couldn’t help it: the sight of Amy licking ketchup from her fingers made her almost insane. Just like that, anger reared its ready head and filled Isabelle’s voice with coldness . . . and now Isabelle hated herself as well . . . Amy sat with her hand in her lap, her neck thrust forward like one of those foolish toy dogs you could sometimes see in the back of a car, whose head wagged back and forth at stop signs. “Oh, sit up straight,” Isabelle wanted to say, but instead she said wearily, “You may be excused. I’ll do the dishes tonight.”
As you explore the Enneagram Reformer, you’ll see a range from the more self-aware, forgiving characters who even have a sense of humor (Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird, Clarice Starling in The Silence of the Lambs) to the most self-righteous and cruel (Beth in Ordinary People, Stevens in The Remains of the Day). I encourage you to read Amy and Isabelle to decide for yourself how Isabelle’s character develops over time.

Be alert, also, for what Searle refers to as a “trap door” quality, a running-amok side that can provide temporary escape from trying to meet high standards (“they rigorously control expression of their feelings, but once the door is opened, their pent-up desires come flooding out”). Isabelle, too, has “a past.”

In addition to finding these characters in fiction, memoirs can teach you what they’re like from the inside. In “Every Good Boy Does Fine,” pianist Jeremy Denk describes the self-critic we all have that’s ever-present for Reformers:
Very recently, during a recital in Philadelphia, I lifted my arm confidently to play a passage. A flurry of wrong notes rang out. I had a moment of panic, a quick intake of breath, and was beginning a litany of self-blame when I heard a voice in my head with a quaint Hungarian accent: “The problem with you is that you’re a perfectionist.”
There are also lists of famous people (see Ralph Nader, An Unreasonable Man) and movie plots (see Tom Wilkinson, The Full Monty) featuring this personality. Observing them in action will inform you in a way words can’t quite describe. 

This post is intended to pique your curiosity with the basics of the Enneagram One personality style, which I promise you will now see everywhere. 


Saturday, October 29, 2016

Emotional Resonance: Enneagram Style Two

While searching for characters that exemplify the Helper personality (Enneagram Style Two), I realized even talented writers don’t always fully explore the motivations of their characters, however skillful their descriptions. As a result, we as readers feel less emotional resonance.

In Alice McDermott’s Charming Billy, the narrator’s father Dennis Lynch shows what might be Helper patterns — at best unconditionally loving, at worst compelled to help in order to feel needed. But McDermott provides only enough of the father’s history and inner dialogue to let us make an educated guess.

The narrator describes her father standing beside Billy’s widow Maeve after the family dinner following Billy’s funeral:

[He] would pay the bill and distribute the tips and take Maeve’s arm when she walked out to the limousine. . . He would promise to stop in to see her later in the evening, just to make sure she was all right. He would shake hands with everyone, thanking them for coming, agreeing it was unbelievable. . . 

Although Dennis was Billy’s lifelong friend who helped Maeve deal with Billy’s fatal drinking, his motivation for doing all this isn’t clear. His behavior seems to reflect the Helper’s instinctive responsiveness to others’ needs. He was always cleaning up after Billy, whose excuse for drinking was the death of his Irish love, Eve.

Only Dennis knew Eve had not died. She’d jilted Billy and married her boyfriend in Ireland. Instead of this harsh truth, Dennis believed lying to Billy would “preserve his innocence”:

The rest of the family would have to hear about it, and Billy would have to endure for some months, maybe years, both their sympathy and their studied silence whenever the subject of love and marriage arose . . . better he be brokenhearted than trailed all the rest of his life by a sense of his own foolishness.

Dennis’ unilateral decision to protect Billy is a clue to the down side of the Helper personality, a form of manipulation that fosters dependency in others.

At the extreme end of this aggressive style of helping is Annie Wilkes in Stephen King’s Misery. The book’s other main character, novelist Paul Sheldon, awakens from a drug-induced sleep to realize his legs are mangled but he’s not in a hospital. Instead he’s immobilized, a prisoner of Annie, a former nurse and — she repeatedly assures him — his number one fan. Already ominous, the plot takes a darker turn when Annie finishes reading Paul’s most recent novel and learns he’s killed off a character she loves. Who can forget Kathy Bates as Annie in the movie version?

In her memoir Sleeping with Cats, Marge Piercy describes taking care of others much of her life. She even financially supported her second husband and two others in a ménage à quatre, and bemoans how people have abandoned her when she’s needed them. Notice her emotional responsiveness in this passage about adopting two cats after her Siamese died:

[She and her third husband, Ira Wood] found heaps of Burmese . . . in piles of rich dark brown fur cuddling one another, except for two exiles: two big sable cats. . . . Woody named the male Jim Beam, and I named the female Colette. . . . Jim Beam was immediately interested and friendly, but Colette hid under a chair. . . . I captured her, held her and licked her like a mother cat. She was astonished and began to purr. From then on, except when she was angry with me, she was my cat. She fell in love that night. It was hardly sanitary, but it conveyed affection and trust in a language she understood.

Licking a kitten, the way a mother cat would, is a fascinating Helper metaphor. Piercy’s examples of her motives and behavior also show how character can be deepened in memoir as well as fiction.

When Helpers become overly flattering and people-pleasing, they lose sight of their own needs. We see this quality in Judith Searle’s (The Literary Enneagram) description of Mrs. Ramsey, in To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf:
In Scotland for the summer with her family and assorted house guests . . . feeding them, making them feel valued, and using her superb social skills to encourage appropriate romantic matches . . . Mrs. Ramsay’s empathy is evident . . . she pushes aside her own feelings, especially her impatience with her husband.
We’re certain of Annie Wilkes as an exemplar of the Helper style, because its most unhealthy aspects are so clear. Marge Piercy’s memoir suggests she shares this personality but is much more self-aware. In Mrs. Ramsey we find the Helper’s strengths and blind spots in balance.

In Charming Billy, however, though we see Dennis Lynch as the big brother everyone can depend on, we aren’t shown enough inner dialogue or signs of motivation to be certain. We only have a hint of this style’s inner conflict. If Dennis were more central and/or the author had wanted to divulge more about his psychological nature, why would that matter? Because readers connect with a character when they recognize some common ground, and this is made possible only when writers share their own dark emotions. The best-drawn characters are compelling. They create emotional resonance, a sock in the gut. We like or dislike, love or hate them.

By comparing Mrs. Ramsey to Marge Piercy and to Annie Wilkes, you can see how a novel or memoir could even include more than one character with the same personality, each played out in a vastly different way. These personality tips will be most useful after your characters emerge in your mind and on the printed page. It’s our goal as writers to create recognizable personalities — known to the reader without allowing them to become stereotypical – distinguishable from one another by unique history, behavior, and voice.

(Another good example of this personality is Leo King in Pat Conroy's South of Broad.)

Friday, October 28, 2016

In The Limelight: Enneagram Style Three

Knowing Enneagram personality styles can help deepen character descriptions in two key ways — being aware of (1) the range of characteristic responses and (2) the typical character arc for each of the nine personalities. 

The range for Enneagram style Three (Achiever) includes responses showing a determined focus on success. Achievers are hard working, productive, ambitious, competitive, charismatic, and always in the limelight. They exemplify a basic human need for encouragement and affirmation that’s so exaggerated they’re alienated from themselves. Instead of allowing “what I want,” their attention goes to “what others expect of me.”

This drive to success is an effort to counter fears of failing, of not meeting others’ expectations. But Achievers dare not show insecurity, so they block off emotions while doing whatever it takes to succeed. Thus, less healthy characters with this personality style will slip from being successful to appearing to be successful, as they cut whatever corners are necessary to keep up appearances.

For Achievers, in life and in fiction, the transformational character arc involves releasing the relentless drive to be the best. They become more authentic, with higher self-awareness, acting on their own values and wishes instead of what will make them look good to others.

Does that mean readers only like novels and memoirs that show such a positive, radical change? Veronica Sicoe makes a useful distinction among Change, Growth, or Fall Arcs:

  • Change Arc—protagonist is positively transformed by the end of the story.
  • Growth or Shift Arc—protagonist changes but not necessarily for the better, just different, or overcomes an internal block and upgrades somewhat.
  • Fall Arc—protagonist declines significantly, dooming self and/or others.

Representing the Change and Shift Arcs are a number of biographies about championship boxers, who — like Olympic gold medal winners — could be a natural fit with the Achiever personality. Certainly this seems true of Lennox Lewis, who won the world amateur junior boxing title, a Summer Olympics boxing gold medal, and world heavyweight championship. What clues suggest he might be an Achiever


In Lennox, when biographer Melissa Mathison asks, “What got you interested in boxing?” Lewis says, “The trophies.” She also describes him as “one great dresser,” which is characteristic in that looking good is both metaphor and reality for this personality style. Lewis’ attention is always turned toward winning. “I use visualization . . . mentally, you have to be very focused.” His lack of self-knowledge is also typical of Achievers. The pressure to keep up the image leads to a tendency to “do” feelings and adopt a role with a script to follow. When asked what he wants people to know about him, Lewis seems at a loss: “That’s a difficult question. What would they want to know about me? What do I feel they ought to know? . . . I represent a certain type of people.” The question was unexpected. He had no script to follow.

But aren’t all championship boxers great dressers? Aren’t they all competitive? How do we distinguish among several aggressive types that might be successful boxers? Here we see the nuance of character in language. George Foreman has said, “Boxing is like jazz. The better it is, the less people appreciate it,” a use of metaphor more characteristic of the Enthusiast than the Achiever. In yet another style, Mike Tyson is all about expecting the worst (“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth”), sounding like a Loyalist. And Muhammad Ali speaks from the gut like a Challenger: “It’s just a job. Grass grows, birds fly, waves pound the sand. I beat people up.” In contrast, Lewis’ description of boxing has an Achiever’s success-oriented competitive focus: “It’s me trying to outdo the other person . . . the highly skilled are the ones that are successful.” 

The Achiever’s striving to impress others is an effort to counter feeling worthless. At the far negative end of this drive are ruthless opportunists who will resort to anything that saves them from exposure. Here we have Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr. Ripley. After protagonist Tom Ripley befriends wealthy Dickie Greenleaf, he envies the Greenleaf’s luxurious lifestyle and wants it for his own. He eventually kills Dickie and assumes his identity, later resuming his own name and forging a will that makes him Dickie’s sole heir. Tom admits his greatest talent is “Forging signatures, telling lies . . . impersonating practically anybody.” When another character suggests he must feel tormented, Tom replies, “Don’t you just take the past and put it in a room in the basement, and lock the door and never go in there? That’s what I do.” Ripley’s path is definitely an example of a Fall Arc — a decline into breaking all the rules to foster his desired image — more evidence that a character arc does not have to be heroic to entrance readers and sell books.

To extend this exploration, Joan Schenkar’s The Talented Miss Highsmith describes Pat Highsmith’s fictional males, especially Tom Ripley, as versions of herself. Jeanette Winterson’s review of Schenker’s biography summarizes, “Concealment was her game and her way of life.” Highsmith traveled in search of fresh encounters and forged, fabricated, or outright lied. Her diaries indicate she was only six years old when she began to have “evil thoughts” about the “murder of my step-father . . . And learned to stifle also my more positive emotions. In adolescence, therefore, I was oddly in command of myself.”

Hmmm. So at some point you’ll consider your own Enneagram personality style, to see how you’ve stamped your characters with a bit of yourself, and might have limited your point of view by not considering other styles. If none of the three I’ve written about so far seems familiar, you’re sure to recognize your image among the six more to follow.


Thursday, October 27, 2016

Marrying Shame: Enneagram Style Four

The personality we most often associate with drama, Enneagram style Four, lends itself beautifully to creative writing. Though the label "individualist" is being used here, this character type is also referred to as "The Tragic Romantic" or some combination of terms that conveys longing, moodiness, discontent, anguish, and/or artistic temperament. Their highest development need is authenticity, a spaciousness of heart where emotions are felt as a natural truth, without rejecting or drowning in them.

While this personality style's passionate creativity, emotional depth, and profound desire for authenticity can be gifts, this narrow focus of attention can also create the fear of being ordinary. Because mundanity is anathema, these characters constantly seek new ways to perceive the world. Paradoxically, seeing the everyday world as banal means always feeling like an outsider, so there's constant tension between wanting to belong and wanting to be different, between feeling special or feeling flawed.

As a young art student, photographer Diane Arbus would look at a model and draw what none of the other students saw. She later said, "I really believe there are things nobody would see if I didn't photograph them." Though famous for her photos of marginal people (transvestites, nudists, circus performers--anyone whose normality seemed surreal), she felt that anything she did easily could not be good. "I didn't want to be told I was terrific. I had the sense that if I was so terrific at it, it wasn't worth doing." 

Arthur Lubow, in his 2016 biography Diane Arbus: Portrait of a Photographer, describes an affinity for symbols that's characteristic of the Individualist: "She was drawn to the things that would be true in any time and place, the customs and rituals that notwithstanding their individuality, were emblematic, oneiric, mythic."

Note Lubow's description of an honors humanities seminar paper Arbus wrote during her senior year:
"She reconfigured the assigned reading into patterns as personal as the whorls of her thumbprints. Through her eyes the Western classics were transformed into personal meditations--on the differences between men and women, the ways in which people succumb to their fates, and the allure of death to those who are unable to inhabit their lives. The light she cast on these works of literature was idiosyncratic, but more than just reflection of her own complex personality, it was, like a flare in a dim room, eccentrically and unevenly illuminating" (p. 24). 
Arbus committed suicide in 1971, when she was only 48 years old. Though somewhat a surprise and certainly a shock to those who cared for her, there had been depressive periods throughout her life. Lubow suggests her anguish was due in part to self-doubt. During a relatively happy year in Europe with her husband Allan Arbus, for example, "she had been felled by recurring spells of despair, of feeling 'gloomy and haunted with guilty echoes of what I should be doing and why I am not.'"  

Biographies, memoirs, and other forms of creative nonfiction are more engaging to read when self-descriptions, sample works, others' observations, characteristic dialogue, and internal thoughts expand our understanding of the subject's personality. The same is perhaps even more true when writing fiction, because we want readers to connect in some way with characters we introduce.

Certainly this is true of Sarah Woodruff in John Fowles' The French Lieutenant's Woman. A psychological study as much as a romance, this novel highlights Sarah's individualist character, her basic isolation and self-awareness as someone who can't be defined by conventional roles. Fowles creates an unforgettable image of Sarah, dressed all in black, standing on the edge of a cliff:
"We knew she was alive a fortnight after this incident, and therefore she did not jump. Nor were hers the sobbing, hysterical sort of tears that presage violent action; but those produced by a profound conditional, rather than emotional, misery -- slow-welling, unstoppable, creeping like blood through a bandage" (page 103).
Charles Smithson's initial impression of Sarah further paints her isolation and mournfulness:
"Standing at the center of the road, Charles watched her black back recede. All he was left with was the after-image of those eyes -- they were abnormally large, as if able to see more and suffer more. And their directness of look -- he did not know it, but it was the tract-delivery look he had received -- contained a most peculiar element of rebuffal. Do not come near me, they said. Noli me tangere" (page 96).
Sarah's own thoughts show her struggle between feeling special and feeling flawed: 
"I did it so that I should never be the same again. I did it so that people should point at me, should say, there walks the French Lieutenant's Whore--oh yes, let the word be said. So that they should know I have suffered, and suffer, as others suffer in every town and village in this land. I could not marry that man. So I married shame... I knew no other way to break out of what I was... What has kept me alive is my shame, my knowing that I am truly not like other women... sometimes I almost pity them. I think I have a freedom they cannot understand" (page 185). 
Neither of these authors is likely to have knowingly used the Enneagram to inform their work. But its application is popular among filmmakers, playwrights, novelists, and memoirists because the nine personality descriptions capture in depth what the best writers depict through their own genius for understanding what makes people tick. 

So, let's say a protagonist you're creating matches the Individualist personality and you want to show a believable character arc. Angela Quarles suggests combining an Enneagram style with Larry Brooks' Three Dimensions of Character Development ("What the world sees, even if it's all a smoke screen for dark and deeply hidden secrets, is an amalgamation of their best and worst essences"):  
  1. First, show your character's surface traits, quirks, and habits. Individualists have a self-image as someone who's basically flawed, with a focus on suffering, emotional sensitivity and empathy, aesthetic sensibility, and a push-pull pattern in relationships  (idealizing the lover, until reality sets in). These characteristics are quite evident in the early pages of The French Lieutenant's Woman, with Sarah Woodruff's sobs "creeping like blood through a bandage."
  2. Second, provide the back story and your character's inner demons; what prompts, explains, and motivates this character? Enneagram style Fours nurture a "story" about not being sufficiently loved, and focus on what's missing or lacking. ("What has kept me alive is my shame, my knowing that I am truly not like other women.")
  3. Third, how would this personality style's true character emerge through choices made when something important is at stake? By the end of The French Lieutenant's Women, Sarah Woodruff is different from many women and unafraid to be so. An assistant and model for a well-known artist, she's developed equanimity, the highest gift for Enneagram style Four -- she is unmarried and unconcerned about conventional attitudes toward her single state in the Victorian era.
At this point, you've been introduced briefly to all nine Enneagram styles, then more in-depth views of style One ("Impeccably Dressed"), style Two ("Emotional Resonance"), style Three ("In the Limelight"), and now style Four ("Marrying Shame"). Continue to follow this series and you'll have a great tool to create life-like, multifaceted, relevant characters.

(More posts to come -- check in every few months.)