Friday, June 23, 2017

What Color Are Your Characters' Personalities?

Admit it, you've gotten sucked into those color personality quizzes on social media. They're all mostly flattering. Oh, you're orange? You must be playful and witty. Certainly you're attractive with all that energy you exude! Or maybe you're red: confident, powerful, and passionate. Yes! Bring on the passion.

Well, I don't know how accurate all those tests and quizzes are. They seem to be pretty good at massaging our egos. Most of them don't mention the negative sides of those color traits, whether or not we tend toward being self-centered, irresponsible, or just plain dull. I'm sure the makers of those tests are missing a few shades in each quiz. Nevertheless, there is a good use for those color charts if you're a fiction writer. You can use them to flesh out your characters' personality profiles.

people vector created by freepik

Consider the Green personality: Calm, intellectual, powerful, curious, introverted, cynical. Sounds like an anti-hero to me. Maybe it's even a villain. I think examining the traits of a "green" personality would add a lot of dimension to some of the villains I've read. It would help to learn that they are not only maniacal and egotistical, but that they are curious and intellectual too. Do you see what that could mean to the fleshing out of their character? How much more dimensional might that make your villain if you added in traits and characteristics that explored these other nuances of personality? How about a dangerous, egotistical villain, who also happens to be a brilliant horticulturist or amateur astronomer? What if they're a winner on the game show Jeapordy? What if they got a full ride scholarship to a prestigious school because they're brilliant, yet morally demented in some way?

Let's look at another example. How about a romantic lead who is Purple by nature: Peaceful, charismatic, gentle, supportive, sensitive. It's easy to find leads who are gentle, supportive, and sensitive. Romance novels are swamped with them. Maybe they are peaceful as well. But if we add charismatic to the mix, what might that mean to the things they do when it comes to their actions and behavior? If they are all those positive things, what would their struggles be? Because they are sensitive, would they hide behind the mask of their charismatic actions if they feel hurt? Also, take a look at the color list below. Those gentle souls have some serious issues to deal with in the personality department too.

It's important to note that not all the color personality tests completely agree, and some are more expansive. Here's a basic conglomeration of what some of the charts say. I've grouped the results together and generalized. (How very unscientific!) Whether they're to be believed or not is up to you. You can still use them to round out an otherwise flat personality in your story world.

Confident, Strong-Willed, Determined,
Ambitious, Passionate, Vibrant
Can be harsh, critical, cheap, workaholics, poor listeners, domineering

Sensible, Helpful, Faithful,
Thorough, Responsible, Committed
Contrarily, some tests say they are persuasive, spontaneous, motivated by fun and...
Can be self-centered, superficial in friendship, easily distracted

Calm, Intellectual, Powerful,
Curious, Introverted, Cynical
Can be argumentative, tend to gossip, unmotivated, unwilling to take risks

Sincere, Romantic, Idealistic,
Spiritual, Empathetic, Loyal
Can be perfectionists, moody, insecure, unforgiving, and very controlling

Peaceful, Charismatic, Gentle,
Supportive, Sensitive
Can be impractical, cynical, aloof, arrogant, a social climber, have delusions of grandeur

Witty, Playful, Open-minded,
Generous, Energetic, Active
Can be judgmental, over-analytical, impatient, pessimistic, cowardly, non-emotional

Considerate, patient, accepting, devoid of ego,
non-confrontational, good listeners
Can be self-deprecating, unwilling to set goals, express conflict, or work at another's pace

There are a lot more. Plus, each of the colors I listed have further variations of personality than what I've included. If you find it might be useful to enhance character development in your writing, investigate color personality further. I found this site to be very helpful, explanatory, and just plain fun to investigate:

Write on!