Enneagrams are great tools to help you with characterization. They’re ready
made for everything you need to know about your character. Don’t worry that
there are only nine types on the list. (1) The Reformer (Perfectionist), (2) The
Helper (Giver), (3)The Achiever (Performer), (4)The Individualist (Tragic
Romantic), (5)The Investigator (Observer), (6)The Loyalist (Loyal Skeptic), (7)
The Enthusiast (Epicure), (8) The Challenger (Protector), and (9) The
You can shape each character to have exactly the strengths
and weaknesses you need for your story. Each personality on the scale has a corresponding
Enneagram that caused that person stress or growth. For example, The
Reformer/Perfectionist. The Enneagram that causes R/P stress is the
Individualist/Tragic Romantic. If you go to the I/TR, you’ll find that it’s the
Reformer that causes the Individualist to grow. Conflict. The Enneagram that
causes the Reformer to grow is the Enthusiast/Epicure. And if you go to the
Enthusiast, you’ll find that the Reformer is the character that will cause them
It’s a pull and shove relationship among all types. There is
a fairly good table at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tritype.
For example, for the Reformer it gives:
– Resentment, Holy idea – Perfection, Basic fear – Corruptness, evil, Basic
desire – Goodness, integrity, balance, Temptation – hypocrisy, hypercriticism, Vice/Passion
– Anger, Virtue – Right action, they find stress in the
Individualist and security in the Enthusiast. Very useful.
The information I’ve collected over the years gives check
lists that you can use to mold your characters. I’ll show you step by step.
We’ll use the Reformer because he’s first.
Of being corrupt/evil, defective
To be good, to have integrity, to be balanced
The world is an imperfect place. I work toward improvement.
Wake Up Call: Awareness of
feeling a sense of personal obligation to fix everything themselves so that
they can rise to a profound acceptance of and genuine tolerance for reality.
– Here’s where you begin molding your character. I left only the parts that I
wanted to include for this person.
their Best: Knows the best action to take in each moment. Humane,
Personality Disorders: Unpredictable,
Key Motivations: Motivated by the need to live their life the right
way, improving the world around them.
Basic Proposition: There is a
right way and a wrong way to do everything.
What they look for: equality.
What gets in the way: Insists on being
Manipulates by correcting others by
playing on their sense of guilt and inadequacy.
tell us about themselves:
live with a powerful inner critic that monitors every thought, word, and deed;
worry about getting things right and are unusually sensitive to criticism;
strive for perfection and feel responsible;
also report a focus on being good and
repress their impulses/desires for pleasure;
can be rigid, overly controlled, seeing virtue as its own reward.
Level 1: Trusting of
self and others. Belief in self leads to true courage.
Level 2: Very appealing,
endearing, lovable, affectionate.
Level 3: Dedicated to
individuals and movements in which they deeply believe.
Level 4: Constantly
vigilant, anticipating problems.
Level 5: Internal
confusion makes them react unpredictably.
Level 6: To Divides
people into friends and enemies.
Unhealthy: (be careful of
this section. You can make your character un-heroic…unless he’s the vilian.)
Level 7: Fearing they’ve
ruined their security, they become volatile.
Level 8: These
last two are very over the top.
There’s a great deal
more, but this gives you an idea how valuable Enneagrams can be to
These websites can
help: Test – http://www.9types.com/rheti/index.php