Writing:

Character Types

When developing a believable character, it helps to think of real people you’ve known in your life and use them as a starting point. However, this will only get you so far. When you want your characters to stand on their own—and perhaps just as importantly, stand apart from the rest of your characters—some analysis of personality is warranted.

Use the wheel above to cycle through the nine basic character archetypes I’ve sketched out based on popular personality typing systems. Rather than matching your character up with just one of these types, I’d suggest choosing one for who they try to be and one for who they tend to be.

So for example, an Monkey-Owl would be a rather serious person who’s driven to understand everything (Owl), but also someone who puts a lot of effort into managing the impression they make on others, softening it in a self-deprecating way (Monkey).

This system allows for 81 possible characters right off the bat. Of course, two characters of the same exact type will still be different people, but it may be helpful to differentiate your major characters into separate types so they’re easier for your readers to distinguish.