Well, you’re far from alone. When I first started writing I had some characters that sporadically changed personalities to do what I wanted them to do.
I love studying people. I caught on quick that it could help me explore and develop my characters. In high school and college I eagerly took Psychology and Sociology. While fellow students moaned and suffered through it, I loved scheming out eccentric cultures and how to terrorize my heroes.
I loved personality tests. I’d horde all the papers and then spend hours and hours running my characters through them. Just to see if I could.
For an introvert like me, what more could I possibly want?
My extraverted Mom thought I was crazy especially when we would go to a family reunion camp and I’d take my binder out to the woods to write all by myself.
Lucky for me I married a People Analyst Addict. We regularly theorize about human nature, motivations and paradigms. It’s something like a joint hobby.
One of our favorite books is Please Understand Me, the foundational basis of the Myers & Briggs system of four different spectrums of opposing preferences such as Introverted vs Extroverted.
I love the sixteen temperaments and placing my characters there so that I can read the full profiles and find out how I can flesh my characters out and smooth over the gaps of my understanding of them.
Another book I love of this system that I’ve recently discovered is Mother Styles, but this book is less for my characters and more for myself and family.
Although stereotyping real people can be problematic, it’s really helped me create a more diverse cast. The tips on weaknesses and how to avoid clashes can spawn great ideas of how to cause struggles and group drama. Knowing just what their buttons are and being able to realistically create two characters that just rub each other the wrong way.
Now that’s fun.
So how do you diversify your characters and keep them straight?