In her books about happiness and habits, writer Gretchen Rubin describes the Four Tendencies, the personality framework she created. I realized in studying them that these tendencies are not only a fabulous way to learn about ourselves and our friends, but to flesh out our fictional characters too.
Brief description of the Four Tendencies:
Upholders are people who respond readily to both outer and inner expectations; that is, expectations from others as well as expectations they set for themselves.
Questioners are people who meet inner expectations, but question outer expectations; they’ll meet others’ expectations only if they think they make sense.
Obligers are people who meet outer expectations, but struggle to meet expectations they impose on themselves.
Rebels are people who resist all expectations, outer and inner alike, but can do nearly anything they truly want to.
Since this framework deals with people’s response to goals, it’s related closely to motivation—which, as every fiction writer knows, is crucial in understanding characters. What are we advised to decide right away for every main character in every scene? Their goal, their motivation. Thus knowing your character’s Tendency will help you know how well they will perform under various challenges.( Collapse )