Without knowing much about the characters you've chosen for your new story, you can begin to learn more about their motives and reactions using an Enneagram Personality Wheel to place your characters where you think they'd fit best.
Consisting of nine personality types, with each type corresponding to two other types for personality strength and weakness, an Enneagram Wheel gives you immediate insight into how your characters may respond, feel, or speak to other characters in your story.
But don't get too hung up on accuracy just yet, the use of the Enneagram Personality Wheel at this stage in the game - Idea Cove - is simply to give you a jumping off point for when you run into the Development Dunes.
Thus, if you find that once you're in the Dunes some of your characters move around to different personality types, that's totally ok! The more you learn about your characters, the more sure you'll feel about where you've placed them on the Wheel and whether or not they need to be moved around to another spot.
What Is The
Enneagram Personality Wheel
The origins of the Enneagram Wheel are unknown and vary depending on who you ask and when, but the man believed to be the one who turned it into a personality chart is allegedly Bolivian-born Oscar Ichazo.
He transformed the wheel into what we now know as an ego chart. From there, the Wheel has taken on a variety of teachers, influencers, and philosophers who have contributed to its use and conceptualization.
Let's break down the sections of the Enneagram Wheel to get a better picture of what we're dealing with:
Enneagram Ones value principles and integrity and are driven by the motivational need to be good and right . Their name comes from their striving for perfection and self-control.
Enneagram Twos have a motivational need to be liked and appreciated. Twos value relationships and as a result kindness, generosity and self-sacrifice are important to them.
Enneagram Threes are likely to value achievement and want to be the best. As a result, efficiency, results, recognition and image are very important to them.
Enneagram Fours have the motivational need to express their uniqueness and be authentic. Fours value individualism and as a result, feelings, self-expression and purpose will be important to them.
Enneagram Fives have the motivational need to know and understand. Fives value making sense of the world around them and, as a result, objectivity and knowledge are important to them.
Enneagram Sixes value security and belonging, as this style stems from the motivational need to be safe and prepared. As a result, loyalty and trust are important to Sixes, who strive to be responsible and prepared at all times.
Enneagram Sevens have the motivational need to experience life to the fullest and avoid pain. Sevens value a sense of freedom and focus on optimism, being inspired and taking opportunities as they present themselves.
Enneagram Eights have a motivational need to be strong and avoid showing vulnerability. They value having a sense of control and being direct and impactful.
Enneagram Nines are motivated by a need to be settled and in harmony with the world and, as a result, being accommodating and accepting will be important to them. They strive for a peaceful existence and appreciate stability, preferring to avoid conflict.
Please visit Integrative 9 to learn more about each character type and their related wings.
As you can see, each type has two lines shooting out to two other character types on the wheel. These lines indicate how your character responds when they feel strong and when they feel weak.
For example: a peacekeeper, type nine, will respond when they're feeling strong as a type three, an achiever; when they're feeling weak, they'll respond like a six, a sceptic.
Thus, if you're character is a Peacekeeper, at their best they'll strive to achieve greatness, and at their worst they'll doubt and second-guess everything.
A character's wing depends on which of the two types on either side of their given type best fits their personality.
Sticking with my example of a type nine Peacekeeper, that character could have a wing toward Perfectionist OR Boss, but not both.
Depending on your storyline and how you expect that character to play out, you can choose which wing, per type, you think they best fit.
How To Place Characters
When You Hardly Know Them
We'll be revisiting the Enneagram Character Chart again when we hit Development Dunes, so, for now, don't worry too much about where you place each character.
The point of this exercise is to get your creative wheels churning, to figure out, with what little you know, what each of your known characters is capable of.
So for this exercise, go with your gut!
Even if you decide to switch things around within a day or so, placing your characters now will help you establish ideas, attitudes, potential dialogue, motivations, fears, etc.
Below is my three-step process for discovering and placing characters on Enneagram types:
Create two wheels: one for good, one for bad
If you can, come up with eighteen characters total (nine protagonists and nine villains) to spread around each wheel, giving yourself ample opportunities to test out a variety of character types. If this isn’t possible, stick to one wheel, but you may find that two characters fit in one type, one being a good character and the other being bad.
Go with your gut reaction when placing characters
If a character, right off the bat, stinks of perfectionism, throw them in the type nine pile. Don’t overthink the nuances of that type just yet until you have nine characters splayed out on the chart.
Don't forget to explore the strength and weakness lines
A character may seem like a type nine until you realize they’re actually a type three operating in a place of personal strength. Don’t forget those lines, babe!