Thursday, October 25, 2007

Using Birth Order To Develop Characters

A few years ago, I read the book A Passionate Proposal by Emilie Rose (Silhouette Desire, August 2004). The hero (a youngest child) and the heroine (an oldest child) grew up in the same town. They meet up at their high school reunion, and here’s a part of the conversation that they share:

Hero: "What you doing now?"
Heroine: "Teaching."
Hero: "I didn’t know you wanted to teach."
Heroine: "We never discussed my plans. We focused on your goals."
Hero: "Ouch. Was I selfish SOB?"
Heroine: "No. You were the youngest in your family. The world tends to revolve around the one occupying that niche."

I smiled when I read it, because, in my opinion, it’s generally true of youngest children.

As I continued reading, I was thinking, “This author has nailed these characters.” One way she did that was by using their birth order personality traits to the fullest advantage in the story.

There are some psychologists who feel that birth order does not affect personality development, but they’re definitely in the minority. Most psychologists believe that it does, and I happen to agree with them. Of course someone’s personality is not based on birth order alone. Many other factors come into play, but I think birth order does contribute tremendously.

Come back tomorrow and let’s talk about the different traits associated with oldest, middle, youngest, and only children.

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