Grief and Personality Types for Characters

Grief and The Personality Types for My Characters

It wasn’t until I lost my most beloved kitty, several family members, and my job, that I experienced the true, horrific pangs of life change and all the lovely stages of grief that goes with it. It had been almost 8 years since we lost our baby daughter and I had all but grown numb from that event.

The new losses helped me express and move through those older emotions and handle them once again without falling to pieces [completely].  Now I know you’re asking yourself … hey … wait – wasn’t this supposed to be an article about personality types? Trust me … I’ll take you there, but I wanted to provide a little context as to the hows and whys I got there.

I read an amazing article by Angela Ackerman about Emotional Wounds and I realized that the current manuscript I had written was cheating the reader and myself. I had an opportunity in my latest book, Obfuscate, to really GO there – and I hadn’t.  

Personality Types and Emotional Wounds

Because of this one article about emotional wounds,  it changed the way to write and think about my character development. Since then, I set out to restructure the entire book to go deeper into all of my characters personalities, their positive and negative traits, and who they were on the inside.  So – in other words – that book release was delayed by a solid year after this article was written because it impacted the way I write and constructed every scene now. I’m so thankful that I reworked the book and have amazing reviews on those characters since I did.

From experiencing my own grief, I allowed myself to go back in time and through the stages of grief to understand how each character would have been impacted by the events in Obfuscate.  But after rewriting the scenes, it still wasn’t quite right.  There were several times I was fighting with my muse and she kept telling me to go deeper.

Go DEEPER!  I was like, what the hell, Muse – how do I do that? I’m scared, I can’t face that nightmare again. Please leave me alone! Unfortunately, Muse wouldn’t leave me alone about it. The answer finally came to me by asking my characters – what would you truly do if this happened to you? Their answers were clear, horrific and I found it very difficult to listen and engage, but I had to.  I had to determine the personalities and the traits of all my characters. From there, I could define their interpersonal relationships with one another and how they handled emotional upheavals.

Artist Unknown

So yeah … I went there!  It wasn’t enough that I have a full-blown dossier on my main cast, but now I had determined their personalities traits via the Myers-Briggs personality tests and then decide how compatible or challenging their relationships may be.

Personality Types and Relationships

In the third installment of the Exsanguinate series, Detonate [TBD release date], we go deep within the relationships of siblings, lovers, parents, and enemies to truly understand how the events shape the lives and decisions of the characters.  Not only did this research create an incredible amount of realism between my couples, but it also helped me understand the ways people love, hate, or live their lives in fear. Not everyone loves the same, and one’s person’s actions can seem very dismissive to another when in all actuality it isn’t.  It’s just the way that person expresses themselves [However broken that may be]. It’s a lot of research, but in the end, I’ll always know that I was true to my characters and they did what was right for them, whether it was the right thing to do or not. And I hope my readers will love the in- depthness (is that a word?) I bring to their favorite and not-so-favorite characters.

To learn more about what I’m talking about check out this post from Kirstin Moodie. She writes about the relationships and breakups and how it affects every kind of personality type. Click on the image and go check it out 🙂

I hope this post has helped you think about your own characters and how you can take them much further than your own imagination just by studying what kind of personality they might have and how they would react in certain situations.

Until Next Time …

~Killion

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