I’ve been reading a great new psychology book that should help in developing characters, especially the settings which reveal so much about a character.
Snoop: What Your Stuff Says About You by Sam Gosling, Ph.D. is a fascinating book by a psychologist who studies a person’s environment and what that environment says about you.
For example, in a bedroom:
Variety of books, magazines, music — this is a person who is open to new experiences.
Well-lit, uncluttered and organized books and music — this is a conscientious person.
Inspirational posters — this is a negative or anxious person.
In an office:
Distinctive decor, stylish, unconventional, varied books — this is an open person
Good condition, clean, organized, neat, uncluttered — this is a conscientious person
Decorated, cheerful, inviting — this is an extravert
High-traffic location — this is an agreeable person
Decorated — this is a negative or anxious person.
Not only does he tell you what to look for, he also details the things that people mistakenly look at when trying to evaluate a person’s psychology.
Examples of things people tend to rely on, but shouldn’t, in a bedroom:
Stale air does not indicate a negative or anxious person
Cheerful and colorful does not indicate an agreeable or a conscientious person
Decorated and cluttered does not indicate an open or extraverted person
In an office:
An uninviting office does not indicate a negative or anxious person
A comfortable office does not indicate a conscientious person
An inviting office does not indicate an agreeable person
The nuances of our Stuff are fascinating to read about and the book is easy to read. It’s a good resource when you are creating new characters.