*Private Class | Create Story Characters Using the Enneagram

with Gloria K Private


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Understand your characters deeply in this workshop on using the enneagram for writers.

Note: This is a private, email-based course that can be scheduled at any time. Please use our contact form, or email us at writers@writers.com, for more information or to set up a session with Gloria. 

The development of fictional or real story characters can often be a daunting task because, unless we have psychology degrees, we can only guess and imagine what motivates real human beings to do what they do and become who they are. We want our story characters to be real human beings so we use extensive dossiers we find in how-to-write books. Or we just start writing our stories, hoping the characters come to life for us and are consistent and real in their behaviors and interactions with each other.

Along comes the Enneagram, an ancient personality study brought to America in the 1960’s, a tool to help writers take the guesswork out of character development. Because the Enneagram is real and is used by some of the top psychologists in our country, we can count on its credibility to show us what motivates real people in their relationships and individual psychological, emotional and spiritual growth. The Enneagram is the answer to flat, dull, undeveloped characters that readers soon forget after reading the story. The Enneagram can even be used to bring real people to life in our memoirs.

According to the Enneagram, human beings are deeply driven by one of nine motivations:

1) the need to be right

2) the need to be loved and valued

3) the need to be productive and to succeed

4) the need to experience one’s feelings and to be understood

5) the need to understand

6) the need for security

7) the need to be happy and avoid suffering

8) the need to be self-reliant and strong

9) the need for peace and to avoid conflict.

Character development and motivation is the key to reader identification. It is only if your reader identifies with your characters that he or she will keep turning the pages of your story. In this workshop, learn the secrets of the Enneagram to guarantee that your reader identifies, cares about, and sympathizes with your story characters.

Gloria’s feedback was vital. She was helpful and gave thoughtful responses. Her lectures were easy to understand and thought-provoking.
—Rose Neff

Enneagram Course Objectives

In this course, you will learn how to:

  • Create characters, each with his and her own distinct personality according to an ancient personality study originating with the Sufis and used broadly today by everyone from therapists to writers to life coaches.
  • Understand the nine basic human motivations and  how those motivations drive each personality type; how to develop that in your characters and stories.
  • Reach the kind of depth of character development that cannot be found in any other personality study, including astrology and the Myers-Briggs system.

By the end of this course, you will have written a series of character sketches that can be shaped into vignettes, stories, or novels.

Using the Enneagram for Writers: Course Outline

Recommended text: The Enneagram Made Easy; Discover the Nine Types of People, Renee Baron and Elizabeth Wagele (recommended but not required)

Week #1: The Reformer and Your Character’s Driving Motivation

Origin of the Enneagram; overview of all nine numbers; a brief intro of each of the nine personality types; study of the #1, the Reformer; identifying a character’s story goal and how to develop it as the action moves forward; creating connection with the reader through the character’s goal.

Assignment: To write a scene that shows the Reformer pursuing his goal.

Week #2: The Giver and Your Character’s Major Fear

Study of the #2, the Giver; the search for the Giver’s major external and internal fear; showing the fear playing out in action according to the story’s genre.

Assignment: To write a scene where the Giver encounters his major fear; what does he do?

Week #3: The Achiever and Your Character’s Major Conflict

Study of the #3, the Achiever; developing your character’s major external and internal conflict and making sure it fits the story’s genre; integrating the external and internal conflict for a unified story.

Assignment: To write a tense action scene of conflict that pushes all of your Achiever’s emotional buttons.

Week #4: The Artist and Your Character’s Fatal Flaw

Study of the #4, the Artist; working with your character’s fatal flaw; how a flaw can create a character of depth; the process of waking up and the redemption of a fatal flaw.

Assignment: To write a dramatic and emotional scene that occurs as a result of the Artist’s inability to control his fatal flaw.

Week #5: The Observer and Your Character’s Background

Study of the #5, the Observer; thinking through your character’s background and how important it is in the genre in which you’re writing; weaving the background into the story; is the background influenced by the Enneagram number or is the Enneagram number formed as a result of the background?

Assignment: To write a dramatic scene where your character’s background is integrated into the action, dialogue or his thoughts, where it’s clear that something in his past is influencing his life in the present.

Week #6: The Skeptic and Your Character’s Belief System

Study of the #6, the Skeptic; pondering your character’s belief system and how it influences his thought processes and his behavior; how a character’s Enneagram number informs his belief system.

Assignment: To write a scene of dialogue where the Skeptic is trying to persuade another character of his position; work in the Skeptic’s belief system that has influenced his point of view.

Week #7: The Adventurer and Your Character’s Psychic Wound

Study of the #7, the Adventurer; your character’s deepest wound and how it drives him from within; making your character more than a one-dimensional victim of his wound.

Assignment: To write a scene of external and internal suspense that shows the Adventurer allowing his wound to hold him back from taking a risk.

Week #8: The Asserter and Your Character’s Perfect Day

Study of the #8, the Asserter; a look at your character’s perfect day and how his Enneagram number determines how he spends that day; considering how each number’s perfect day is very different.

Assignment: To write a scene of frustration for the Asserter who is all about orchestrating his perfect day but who keeps running into other Enneagram numbers.

Week #9: The Peacemaker and Your Character’s Most Memorable Trait

Study of the #9, the Peacemaker; balancing dark and light traits in a character; learning to use the Enneagram to explore your character’s most memorable external and internal traits; creating the unforgettable character.

Assignment: To write a scene that emphasizes one of the Peacemaker’s most memorable traits as he engages in unwanted conflict with another character.

Week #10: Can’t We All Just Get Along? Probably Not…

Choosing the Enneagram numbers that will most likely clash for maximum story drama; leading your characters to a redemptive ending—or not.

Assignment: To answer five self-discovery questions: Optional: To choose one of five scenarios and write a line of dialogue for each personality type.

Why Take an Enneagram Writing Course with Writers.com?

  • We welcome writers of all backgrounds and experience levels, and we are here for one reason: to support you on your writing journey.
  • Small groups keep our online writing classes lively and intimate.
  • Work through your weekly written lectures, course materials, and writing assignments at your own pace.
  • Share and discuss your work with classmates in a supportive class environment.
  • Award-winning instructor Gloria Kempton will offer you direct, personal feedback and suggestions on every assignment you submit.

Use the enneagram to enrich your writing and your characters. Reserve your spot today!

Questions about the course content? Contact instructor directly.
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