Have you heard of the four personality types: choleric, sanguine, melancholy and phlegmatic? No? Perhaps you’ve heard of Gary Smalley’s revisioning of the four personality types: Lion, Otter, Beaver and Golden Retriever, which are way more fun to pull out at awkward social occasions. I do so enjoy diagnosing people as animals.

The Lion is the “get on board or get out-of-the-way” leader who sees the big picture but tends to trip on the details. The Otter loves to make a party out of every gathering, even funerals. The Beaver is busy, busy, busy calculating the best way to do anything at all, and the Golden Retriever just wants to love you and make sure you’re OK.

Well, I’m a Beaver (yes, I’m a turtle, too, but Smalley doesn’t use turtles in his analogy). Technically, I’m a Beaver-Retriever, but the Beaver generally runs the show unless you break into tears in front of me. After I’ve gotten you a box of kleenex and a comfy chair (Beaver things to do, btw), I’ll find out what the problem is and how I can best serve you at that moment. I’ll do it all in a methodical fashion and only within the parameters previously set by our relationship or as prescribed for this unique situation, but my heart will be in the right place.

Yeah, I’m mostly Beaver.

I’ve been working with the Gungho Iguana, aka Keven Newsome, and Grace Bridges this week on the cover art for Star of Justice. I never expected to be a part of that process. The big publishers rarely let writers help with the cover (or with the title, in case you didn’t know, so don’t get too attached to yours). This has been as enjoyable as it was unexpected.

At one point, I gave my opinion and followed with “I’m no diva,” meaning this wasn’t a “make or break” issue. None of it is, really. I’m thrilled to offer any input.

But it got me thinking. I’m no diva, but I am a “Beava.” That Beaver part wants things to be “right,” and “right” for a cover happens to be “technically accurate.” I hate it when cover art has little or nothing to do with the story inside. I hate it more when artistic license is taken in areas it doesn’t need to be taken, like hair color. What possible reason is there to change an MC’s hair color from brown to blond or vice versa? Drives me crazy when it happens.

Fortunately, I’m working with another Beaver who’s just as concerned about “right” as I am, and a Golden Retriever who is pretty laid back about the whole thing as long as it comes in on deadline. In short, I’m in good paws, er, hands. And it’s got this Beaver-Retriever looking like this:

Thanks, guys. You’re awesomeness on toast.

About Robynn Tolbert

Born in Kansas and born again at age six, Robynn has published two novels and started her third. Robynn, aka Ranunculus Turtle, lives in Kansas with a clowder of cats, a patient dog and a garden.

15 comments on “Beava

  1. I’m not familiar with this system of the revisions of the old one, but the guy who gave and analyzed my MBTI type had a system of his own, sharks, crabs, dolphins, and whales. I’m a shark, which looks like it roughly corresponds with lion.

    I have noticed that artistic license can often keep potential readers from reading it, especially if it’s a Western and they readers can identify the time period a saddle was made in, which may not be the same time period that the gun is from, or when the story supposedly takes place. It looks like you won’t have that problem though.

    • This is definitely not a Western. 😉

      For all those who want to ID themselves (or their spouses), Gary Smalley has a free downloadable personality test on his website. I found it with a Yahoo search.

  2. Can I be all four? 😛

  3. I don’t think I fit any of these animals. Diane thinks I’m a swallow. I don’t see it. I’ve never been small or swift or agile. Jesus said two swallows were worth a penny. My opinions are usually worth about half a cent, but Jesus also said people were worth more than “many swallows” so I won’t assume her nickname for me is a measure of my personal worth.

    I like ALL of the animals Kaleb mentions, plus otters, but just liking them doesn’t make me one. I’m often crabby. Does that make me a crab? I eat crabmeat and enjoy it quite a lot. Maybe I’m a cannibal?

    I think I’m somewhat like a snail. That’s like a turtle, but with a much thinner shell. Wait– I don’t think I have a shell. I must be a slug. Yeah, I’m sure that would be a great ice-breaker at a social event. “Hi, I’m Caprice and I’m a slug. What animal do you think you are?”

    Slugs should stay well away from social events.

  4. My husband and I took that personality quiz. We were complete opposites–he’s a beaver with a hint of lion, and I’m an otter with some golden retriever. Which explains my spur-of-the-moment ideas that (quite unintentionally) lead to someone (usually me) getting hurt. 😉

  5. My Dearest Turtle,

    Maybe your a Beava, Diva!

  6. It’s great to be aquainted with another Beaver-Retriever. I’m all about getting things done right, though I think mine may actually be heavier on the Retriever part. lol…

  7. Oh, Robynn, I should have guessed we’d be the same type!

    I actually scored pretty low on the lion scale, though not as low as on the otter.

    So what do you get when you cross a Lioness with a Beaver?

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