Character Development – The Ego Hat

We all wear an ego hat and the characters we write all wear an THINKING – FEELING – INTUITUIN – SENSATION

We all wear an ego hat and the characters we write all wear an ego hat.

If there is a hero for writers and filmmakers, it should be psychologist Dr. Carl G. Jung, who said that the self includes the ego.  He described ego as the border of consciousness.  He said the ego is subordinate to the self.

What does this mean for character development?  The ego is our point of reference for conscious awareness and thus behavior and it is totally helpless to the unconscious self.  Therefore, the ego of your character is helpless to the unconscious self.  A character should behave accordingly.

Freud said the goal of therapy was to make the unconscious conscious.  Jung was a student and follower of Freud, but at the beginning of World War I, Jung came to the conclusion that there must be some connection between a persona as an individual and as a member of humanity.

Jung began to draw a brown dwarf after recording his feelings, thoughts and dreams while watching the on slaughter of WW I.  The happenings of war are very powerful tools for creating higher thought.

Jung divided the self into three aspects:  the ego or conscious mind, a personal unconscious, which is what can be conscious at any moment and the unconscious mind.  What makes this theory relate to writing is that the accumulation of these three parts of the self-mind lead to “collective conscious.”  It is the experience of all of the experiences and behaviors and emotions that we have.

What this means to character development is that you have to write a believable persona of your character lest you lose your audience if you do not.  Audiences are able to get into the self of a character and when they do they become the unconscious.  When the ego does not act according, you character is not believable.

For instance, if you lead character has the unconscious need for security, they should act insecure; if your character has the unconscious need to be accepted, their behavior should exemplify the outward actions of someone who is trying to be accepted.

If you want to change your character, you will need to use a catalyst and this too must be believable.  The changed behavior is called “revelation” and it must match the “ego.”

Imaging your character has a hat with a label, “insecure” or “needs acceptance” and have your character behave according to the label on the hat; this is the “Ego Hat.”  Every behavior under that hat should fit the semi conscious and the unconscious mind of your character.

The Business of Writing

The Art of Storytelling Storytelling

The Fair Use Doctrine

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The Law of Logic

Writing Diversity or Speciality

Character Development

Writers Created or Born?

Words Meet Design

Creative Writing Critique

Screenwriting Construction