The Unread Story Is Not A Story

The unread story is not a story; it is little black marks on wood pulp. The reader, reading it, makes it live: a live thing, a story. (2019). Ursula K. Le Guin Quotes (Author of A Wizard of Earthsea). [online] Available at: [Accessed 21 Oct. 2019].

You Don’t Need An Ivory Tower To Write

The idea that you need an ivory tower to write in, that if you have babies you can’t have books, that artists are somehow exempt from the dirty work of life — rubbish. (2019). Ursula K. Le Guin Quotes (Author of A Wizard of Earthsea). [online] Available at: [Accessed 21 Oct. 2019].

Rewriting Is As Hard As Composition

Rewriting is as hard as composition is — that is, very hard work. But revising — fiddling and polishing — that’s gravy — I love it. I could do it forever. And the computer has made it such a breeze. (2019). Ursula K. Le Guin Quotes (Author of A Wizard of Earthsea). [online] Available at: [Accessed 21 Oct. 2019].

We Read To Find Out Who We Are

We read books to find out who we are. What other people, real or imaginary, do and think and feel… is an essential guide to our understanding of what we ourselves are and may become. (2019). Ursula K. Le Guin Quotes (Author of A Wizard of Earthsea). [online] Available at: [Accessed 21 Oct. 2019].

The Goal Is Not To Write A Masterpiece Or Bestseller

It helps to remember that the goal is not to write a masterpiece or a bestseller. The goal is to be able to look at your story and say, Yes. That’s as good as I can make it. And then, once in a while, none of that sweat and trial and error and risk-taking is necessary. Something just comes to you as you write. You write it down, it’s there, it’s really good. You look at it unbelieving. Did I do that? I think that kind of gift mostly comes as the pay-off for trying, patiently, repeatedly, to make something well. (2019). Ursula K. Le Guin Quotes (Author of A Wizard of Earthsea). [online] Available at: [Accessed 21 Oct. 2019].

It Takes Vigour And Stamina To Write A Story

It takes quite a lot of vigour and stamina to write a story, and a huge amount to write a novel. (2019). Ursula K. Le Guin Quotes (Author of A Wizard of Earthsea). [online] Available at: [Accessed 21 Oct. 2019].

Developing Compelling Characters Using The Narrative Enneagram

This post is a reflection on The Narrative Enneagram tool and how a writer may leverage it to develop three-dimensional and compelling characters.

The Enneagram describes “nine distinct strategies for relating to the self, others and the world.” Each of the nine types has distinct “psychological, spiritual and somatic patterns,” as well as Focus of Attention and Life Lesson.

Below I describe my approach to leveraging The Giver, Enneagram Two, to develop a sample Protagonist character.

First, I begin by drafting the Premise for my story.

Then, I develop a Character Dossier for the story’s main characters. As an example, I would develop Jonah, the Protagonist, by answering the following questions:

What is the protagonist’s inner journey?
Jonah goes from focusing solely on others to feeling worthy of love.

What is the protagonist’s outer goal?
Jonah’s outer goal is to finish his military service and return to an ordinary civilian life and form a family.

Then, after considering multiple facets of Jonah’s Character Dossier, I would study the nine Enneagram types to identify the one that corresponds most closely to my understanding of Jonah, thus far.

To begin, I would use the Enneagram’s three Centers of Intelligence perception (head, heart, and body) to flesh-out Jonah further.

Based on a thorough review of the Enneagram types, as well as what I know of Jonah a this stage, I might select The Giver as a launching point. The Giver is a feeling-based Enneagram type that emphasizes the heart for feelings, empathy, and concern for others. Like Jonah, The Giver focuses on success (earning an honorable discharge from military service) and relationship (returning to an ordinary civilian life and forming a family). The Giver also focuses on “performing up to expectations of the job or other people.”

The Giver’s other characteristics present a wealth of opportunities to develop Noah’s story arc:

The Giver’s Focus of Attention is on the needs, feelings, and desires of others.

The Giver’s Life Lesson is to “To develop the humility that comes from allowing yourself to be loved without being needed and to have needs of your own.” This life lesson parallel’s Jonah’s inner journey closely.

The Giver’s Speaking Style is “friendly, open, expressive, focused on others, and quick to support or give advice.” Reflecting on Jonah’s Character Dossier, The Giver’s Speaking Style provides rich opportunities to develop his voice.

Once I have crafted a fully developed and compelling Protagonist, I would proceed to leveraging Enneagram types to develop the remaining characters in the story. This is an iterative process, since it is highly likely that I would revise the Protagonist and his story arc as I develop the other characters.

The Narrative Enneagram is a fascinating tool and provides a rich and inspired resource for writers. In this post I have outlined briefly how I intend to leverage The Enneagram’s types to develop the characters in my stories. Consider following the link below to explore The Enneagram types.

Enneagram Types. (2019). Retrieved 20 October 2019, from