Marji Laine

I Love a Good Mystery!


Heroes in 4 Categories

I looked up the word archetype the other day. I thought the word just referred to broad types of characters in literature. Boy did I have a few surprises. Seriously, some of what I read bored the tar out of me. I didn’t care about the ways that some of the heroes were developed, and I didn’t need to delve too deeply into the life and times of the philosophers who created the categories. But I loved the psychology behind the project. Continue reading


Personality Plus

I’m working with the largest home school prom in America, and this year is bigger than any of the others. Being one of the five directors is really teaching me a lot about myself.

I think sometimes we have to go through stressful situations to figure out what type of people we are. AND where we need some work. For instance, when noise and distractions mount, while your attention is critical, how do you react? Do you snap at
someone? Do you curl up or shed tears? Do you walk away to end the matter? Sometimes the reaction stems from all the other circumstances you’ve been dealing with during the day, but some of your responses depends on your own values and goals.

Just like characters in a book, our values and goals build up our responses to different types of stimuli. A person who would walk away from the hypothetical problem might have issues with control. If they can’t control their circumstances, they WILL control them by leaving them behind.

A person who sheds tears, or even someone who guts it out and keeps working through the trouble, might very well be a people-pleaser, the other end of the spectrum. To avoid conflict, this person might bend over backwards, whether the work that they complete is worth anything or not.

A person who snaps could be either of these extremes and anywhere in between, because the snap usually indicates a build-up of pressure rather than a response to the specific stimuli. In such a case, the people-pleaser might have bent too far. Or the controller might insist on keeping the control.

What about a person who tries to quiet everything around before addressing the attention-demanding problem? They could be passive-resistant, or just procrastinators. Or they might have a mild form of ADD and need to have silence before they can concentrate on the matter that needs them.

I love laid-back people who have no problem with the situation I described. It would send me right through the ceiling. (I’m one of the ADD types and noise and distractions steal more of my time than car-pool.) One of my best friends has that ability. Nothing seems to phase her.
As a writer, I have to dissect my characters to discover how they will react when I put them in various settings with conflicting stimuli. Where one character who runs a diner might have no problem concentrating with loud noise and lots of people around, another character managing a bed and breakfast won’t deal with issues like that very often. Since that character is also a natural introvert, the commotion would probably drive her to her room at the top of an old Victorian mansion. My heroes would deal with the issues differently too. One is a cop who would likely press through the stress in order to complete his task. The other is a missionary and would like join the party and put off the demands for a time when he wasn’t interacting with people.Knowing how my characters would act under stress unveils my story rather well. But in dealing with my own situations of the day, I had a blessing that my characters don’t. With the prom board, I’m in a safe environment with like-minded ladies. All of us have singular purpose and hearts that can be trusted.Can’t say that about my characters. I love putting them in impossible situations all by themselves and then throw some rocks at them. (Yeah, that’s the way I roll!)

How would you react to the situation I described? What does that say about you?