Believable Characters: Creating with Enneagrams


     Writers sometimes ask, "What personality type would my FBI agent be?" That’s where enneagrams come in handy.
     We can assume that an FBI agent believes in law and order, but that’s not nearly enough to define a character.
     The agent might live with a wife and kids, or a dog, or a crotchety uncle, but that’s still not enough to define his character.
     We might know his birthplace, his parents’ occupations, his siblings’ names and his favorite childhood pet, but we’re still just scratching the surface.
     It’s when we get to his enneagram type that some real clues to this FBI agent’s personality begin to emerge.
     As a One, for instance, he’s all about upholding what’s Right & Good.
     As a Two, his top priority is the people he’s caring for.
     As a Three, it’s giving the best possible performance.
     As a Four, he’s keenly aware of the emotional nuances of any situation.
     As a Five, he’s fascinated with the investigative process.
     As a Six, his concern is preserving security.
     As a Seven, it’s fully experiencing every new situation.
     As an Eight, he wants to protect the innocent in an unjust world.
     As a Nine, he wants to maintain peace and tranquility wherever possible.
     Each of those personalities could describe either a highly successful, competent FBI agent...or, if the story requires it, a failure at any FBI mission.
     So knowing a character’s career doesn’t necessarily provide much of a clue to the character’s enneagram type.
     But the following chapters will.
     Each chapter starts with a quiz that can help identify a prospective character’s most likely types. Sometimes one type is clearly the winner; other times there are several possibilities.
     Information on each type’s own strengths and weaknesses, childhood, work style and relationships will narrow it down even further.
     And to show how each character type operates, we’ll see each type starring in imaginary scenes from books of various genres.
     The scenes feature:
    • A cop tracking the blackmailer who’s threatening his beloved daughter’s arrogant father-in-law.
    • A princess who has to save the kingdom by allying with either the vampire lord or the rebel dragon-rider.
    • A solitary cowboy fighting off the cattle rustlers who’ve been decimating his herd.
    • A teenager whose only friend finds treasure buried in the family’s backyard.
    • A career woman who hires a detective to find the baby she gave up for adoption 13 years ago.
     All five characters will face different conflicts in each of the following chapters, depending on their enneagram type. So let’s see how to put our enneagram-type characters into situations that will keep readers turning pages all night long.