I may have mentioned previously that I’m taking a year-long course on leading, in the 21st Century. We are currently 2/5 of the way through this journey and it has been an unbelievably powerful experience. To do the work, you have to be prepared to dig deeply and honestly into the forces that have molded you into the person you are, and it can be emotionally tough.
One of the tools that was introduced to help flesh out the attributes and the flaws that make each of us the unique characters that we are, was the ‘character diamond’. Those of you who are writers, whether of fiction, or scripts for plays or films, have probably come across this. From my reading, the concept was originally introduced by David Freeman, who taught Screenwriting and Script Development Master Classes. It has since been adapted in many ways but the basic concept is a great way of fleshing out characters and discovering the arc in their journey through your script.
Our assignment though, was to create our personal character diamond, with the 4 facets of our character – based on our strengths and our opposing flaws or weaknesses; and our negative and positive inner conflicts. And then to think of our life experiences that illustrate them.
We meet once (virtually) for each module with a small group 8 or less, to share what we have learned. Gradually I have noticed how our group of disparate personalities, diverse backgrounds and geographic locations, in Canada, USA and Mexico have bonded and become empowered to freely share our flaws as well as our strengths with the group.
One of my greatest flaws is impatience. It has always been hard for me to curb my irritation in meetings when they are badly run or someone rambles on repetitively.
That’s why I really like this quote by Joyce Meyer: ‘Patience is not simply the ability to wait- it’s how we behave while we wait’ I wish I had found it years ago. It might have saved me some grief.
I’m curious whether any of my many writer friends use the character diamond to shape their characters, or do they just take them on the arc of their journey and let the characteristics unfold?