Using Enneagram Types to Sketch Fictional Characters

by Kerry Kerr McAvoy

This week we interviewed author and podcaster Claire Taylor. She has written over 30 books, including the Jessica Christ Series

She shared with us a creative technique she uses to sketch a 3-dimensional cast of characters. Enneagram has been in use for over a thousand years to understand what drives human nature. The word, Enneagram, literally means “nine drawings/writing.”  

There are nine core personality types, each governed by a primary drive or need. Type 1, for example, strives for perfection, whereas Type 2 wants to be loved. But Enneagram takes it a step further and predicts the underlying fear as well as the impact of stress and growth for each personality type. 

When faced with challenges, there is a predictable corrupt and noble response pattern for each subtype. Every personality also faces a unique temptation and battles a particular vice.

As Claire prepares to write a book, she identifies her cast of characters and then defines their Enneagram Type. This method enables her to anticipate their likely reaction when faced with various forms of conflict. It also provides her a predictive roadmap of behavior when facing different scenarios, such as falling in love, facing a threat, or disappointing someone. She’s found using this method has helped her characters become rich and complex.

Here’s a helpful chart for an overview of the types

If you’d like to learn more about the Enneagram, you might want to check out, The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery or visit The Enneagram Institute’s webpage.

For more on H. Claire Taylor, be sure to visit her webpage or her podcast, The Sell More Books Podcast!

Here’s this week’s worksheet, Using Enneagram to Sketch Characters, available to all Patreon sponsors.

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