Viewpoints & Social interaction
When we think of how people react to hot topics of today we can see emerging several different types of personalities. It is excepted in psychological studies that there are five main types of personality traits. These were contrived by two research teams in the 1970’s. For the sake of staying on topic here are the five personality traits.
Openness- open to experiences.
Conscientiousness- Strong sense of duty and focused on tasks.
Extraversion versus Introversion- Extroverts are very social and outgoing. Introverts are the opposite.
Agreeableness- Is measured by the person’s warmth and kindness.
Neuroticism- These people tend to worry frequently and easily slip into anxiety and depression.
While today the above is no longer favored by professionals they are still used during counseling to help patients understand themselves. For our personality building purposes, we will be using these traits to build characters.
Today’s Connected World
To find a good mix of personality traits we need not look any farther than our own social media pages. Take a moment and look through your feed and think about the last time you posted something people felt strongly over. What responses did you get from the ones posting?
For the sake of this article, I will look at myself. (I promised my Facebook Guinee pigs I wouldn’t disclose their info.)
My personality trait mix is:
Openness, Conscientious, Extroversion, and Agreeableness
Even though I do suffer from anxiety and bouts of depression, it is not from worry.
I am a totally crazy Jane!
My friends could probably kill me right now over using them as my sounding board and Guinee pigs. So basically, I have strong feelings about the current immigration laws and the whole asylum issue. I refuse to be bullied or shamed into feeling badly over enforcement of our current laws. I made a post in response to some stranger’s posts but did it on my page and waited to see what everyone said or how the responded without my putting any info up about what was aimed at me (those with views like mine that is) and waited.
Instead of picking on the friends and family who responded I will use myself as the example for this part of the world building then we will make some other characters to go with me. None will be based on the post responders other than myself. This is just for real life (me) and fantasy (other characters) creation. Crash course on developing a character that has real traits you see in real life with a real thought process.
So, am I open to other views? Yes, I am glad to listen to others. Do I change my mind based on their information or views? No. I am goal focused and want to make changes that would make everyone happier. I have no problem saying hey I am using this info elsewhere too for a different purpose. I still care about those who are not open to my thought process or expression. I will get back on Facebook even though I don’t feel welcome there. I like a party, and even bad parties can sometimes be fun.
What goes through my head reading responses?
- They didn’t understand a word I typed.
- They do not want to understand what I am talking about.
- I am okay with them not understanding me and possibly thinking I am stupid.
- It was nice of them to provide information they thought I didn’t know.
- They haven’t seen what I did so they do not understand my post.
- They are speaking from hurt.
- I should validate their emotion-filled responses by liking them.
- It is wrong of me to psychoanalyze them for the purpose of being able to understand how personality traits play a factor in how we share information.
- Some of the people did understand what I was saying.
- Those people didn’t say anything because they do not want to be pulled into the conversation and possibly feel attacked.
- I wish I hadn’t bothered typing my post.
There are a ton more thoughts, but those are truly my top ones. Now let us look at how my thoughts and actions can be tied to the above five personality traits. I won’t use all the above thoughts, but I will use some and show you how they tied in with my personality traits. Starting with thought number one.
Openness can look like posting your heartfelt frustrated view than seeing responses that say to you the poster others didn’t understand you at all. You then feel caught off guard. I am open to your posts so why are you so judgmental of mine? (Except the posts a stranger did using the pics of asylum seekers to say we should let illegals stay here and that deportation of any illegal or seeking legal entry immigrant is wrong. My Auntie came here legally and jumped through hoops. You can too! I want reform for all and a better faster process that is fair.)
Your openness can make you question if the other person is open too. It can be hard to be open and willing to be vulnerable when others have a closed personality.
*Openness and closedness can be a great way to have a story arc set up. What made the character’s world fall apart? They were open, and another character wasn’t. Communication broke down.
Looking now at number three where I thought I was okay with them not understanding me and thinking me stupid. My sense of duty to my desire to see real changes and have people interact with actual immigrants instead of basing their views from what we see on news show pushes me to keep interacting with others. This is Conscientious personality trait at play.
Number seven when I felt I should like the responses to let them know I heard them and cared speaks to my Extroversion trait. I need to be with them and have interaction, so the fear they think I am rejecting them pushes me to show them some form of validation to have them continue letting me be amongst their circle of friends. This can also be tied to my Agreeableness trait. I care about them enough to want them to be okay with our conversations. I want everyone to leave still friends.
Now even though trait five is not one I struggle with daily it does show up here. In my last thought of I wish I had not posted anything at all. Neuroticism is something that we can all have a touch of depending on the circumstances. It is fed by the other traits, especially during negative emotional times or times of self-doubt.
These five traits can have both negative and positive attributes associated with them. Sometimes we see positive and negative at the same time. Now to the character creation. We have looked at me in real life. I think we will jump back to our faux world with the King, Evil Wizard, Jester, and the Peasants.
What would these traits look like expressed in dialogue within a story?
Going back to the story in a previous post I will assign random personality traits to each of the key players. Starting with the King who under the threat of attack from the neighboring kingdom gave into letting the evil wizard crown him.
King & his traits
- Openness- Willing to see what happens by submitting to the crowning by the evil wizard.
- Conscientiousness- Strong sense of duty to his people which also secured his choice.
- Introverted- Inner focused and not willing to risk large-scale
- Agreeableness- Willing to do what is required to avoid war. This is backed up by his Introverted nature.
- Neuroticism- His fears of pending war and confrontation build up anxiety and cause him to slip into a depression.
Evil Wizard & his traits
- Openness- He is a closed personality. Not willing to see other views.
- Conscientiousness- Strong sense of duty to himself. Defends his position fiercely with information and distortion of information.
- Extraversion- Outgoing with a dynamic personality. Loves to be seen and heard.
- Agreeableness- is not agreeable at all. Cold and cruel.
- Neuroticism- Doesn’t apply to him.
To speed this up, I am going to focus on writing just the dialogue between these two characters for tonight.
The wind sucked the shredded curtain out of the tower window as the dead body of his father spilled onto the floor laying halfway between his feet and the bed. Crimson droplets of blood splattered the nightstand and smeared as the Evil Wizard whisked the ring from the dead man’s finger. “He will not need this anymore. Nor the crown.” Shadiam Wizard of the Firestone spoke as he finished his duties to the dead.
“The note says we come for you at dawn kingless nation. I can see the brand burnt into the wall well enough to understand our neighbors have left us a threat as well as kingless.” Shadiam spoke once more as his feet weeping smears of blood crept closer to the wall.
Prince Liuran watched quietly reflecting on his options. Hands clenching at his sides the prince backs away into the shadows as the sound of the guards returning greet his ears. Shadiam steps closer leaving a wicked trail of blood behind. The foul stench of his warm breath hits Liuran in the face. “Prince Liuran we must act now. To delay your assent to the throne will cause your people to be slaughtered before nightfall.”
“I am willing to do what I must for the sake of my people,” Liuran spoke softly rubbing his hands together once before offering his hand for the ring to be placed upon.
“Shall I also place the crown upon your head your majesty and announce you to the guards as king?” Shadiam hissed in delight as he watched the young monarch slowly nod in agreement to his question. “So be it. I, Shadiam Wizard of the Firestone, crown you king of Jadonna.”
I had not intended to write an actual story, but I guess I got one going up there. I hope you can see how having an understanding of character traits can help you pick body language, choices, and verbal responses for your characters. Looking at what personality traits actual people have and seeing their thought process that happens behind the scenes can make a difference in how you write your stories. I hope my sharing my personal inner thoughts helped you see the personality traits I have and the correlation between inner thoughts, expressed actions, and personality traits.
I have a blooming migraine now so I will close this post. I do plan on coming back and working more on tips to help us really get inside our characters’ heads and build their voices more. Just not right now. If you are finding any of these psychobabble posts on here of value please drop me a comment!
Your favorite small town writer,