Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Character Traits: Love Language


By Jill Williamson


The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman is a nonfiction book first published for married couples. I don’t remember when I first discovered it, but I found the concept fascinating. The five love languages work for every relationship. In fact, I asked my editor Jeff Gerke what his was, told him mine, and that helped us better understand each other.


I always like to know my characters’ love languages.


You don’t have to buy the book to understand how the five love languages work. Here's how it works. People tend to feel love in one of five ways: 


Words of affirmation
Acts of service
Gifts
Physical touch
Quality time


You might know in simply reading that list which is yours. Some people have more than one. I’m a service girl. I show people love by doing things for them. And I tend to feel loved when people do things for me. My husband is a words of affirmation guy. I can do nice things for him all day long and if I don’t say kind, affirming words to him, he doesn’t feel loved.


See how clever this is?


You can take the 5 Love languages quiz here: http://www.5lovelanguages.com/assessments/love/


So how about it? What’s your love language? Now think about your parents and see if you can figure out what theirs are. Then try and do their love language for them in some way.


What do you think? Do you see how it might be helpful to know your character’s love language?

31 comments:

  1. Thanks for this post! The concept of love languages seems really interesting and it will certainly help me understand my characters better!

    I think my current MC might like words of affirmation since she never feels like she's good enough and she wants people to reassure her.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome, Jill! And that's great insight into your character's love language too. :-)
      Jill

      Delete
  2. I agree that love languages are very important, both for characters and real life! Just a few days ago I took that quiz from the perspective of my character and found that her love language was Physical Touch. It's fun to figure out!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cool, P. Rose! It does really help us understand people better sometimes.

      Delete
  3. Very interesting post!!! Thank you so much!
    I'm almost certain, without taking the quiz, that my love language is words of affirmation. I've actually been noticing that recently. And my dad's is SO physical touch. You have to give him a big hug for him to cheer up. :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome!
      Interesting... Did you ever wish your dad would give you more words of affirmation, but now that you know his language understand each other better? I love when that happens.

      Delete
  4. Wow, I never thought about that. I better make my character take the assessment! Interestingly, I have heard my brother talking about this book and the 5 love languages (He's preparing to get married!) and I knew about them. I was not thinking at all about putting it into a character! That is such a good idea!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awww! Sarah! I LOVE that your brother is learning stuff before getting married. That's so great. More couples should do that. Have fun with the test!

      Delete
  5. I can't believe I never thought of this! My book opens up with my character spending time with his brother. That;s his love language - quality time! I never even realized it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sweet! So if there's a point in your book where your character is alone, he'll probably be feeling it pretty strongly. I have a friend who texts me (his last resort person...LOL) whenever no one is around to hang out with him. He's a quality timer.

      Delete
  6. I love the depth this could add to arguments since it can be a form of miscommunication for characters. Great post, Jill!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Miscommunication when writing a book is fun. Mwa ha ha.

      Delete
  7. I loved this post! I took the assessment and found that my love language is Quality Time with Words of Affirmation coming in at a close second. For my character, Clair, I have found that both Acts of Service and Physical touch tied! Didn't realize how much different she was from me. This link and post were both very helpful to me. ^_^ thanks so much
    ~ S.J.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great point, Random! It can be tricky to write characters that are so different from ourselves. We have to be very conscious of not putting in our own thoughts or reactions to situations. Cool insight!

      Delete
  8. Thanks for this really interesting post! I never would have thought of this! Just wondering, do you have any tips for creating a memorable character for your readers?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous,

      The key to unforgettable characters isn't just one thing. It's all of it together that makes them feel like living, breathing people.

      Quickly though, focus on creating a voice for your character and have that come through in his thoughts and dialogue.

      Listen to how your friends dialogue can be different from each other. Maybe try and listen in class. How they answer a teacher's questions can give you insight. Are they terrified of giving a wrong answer? To terrified to even speak? Are they a smart alek? Do they just blurt out the first thing that comes to mind? Maybe they don't care about getting it right.

      Whatever it is, your character needs to be totally consistent so that the reader never feels like he did something contrary to his character.

      Hope that helps!

      Jill

      Delete
  9. My MC, Bridget's Love Language is quality time, and words of affirmation was second. Her love language is the same as mine, because her personality is modeled after me. Its easier for me to relate to my character and describe what she's feeling since that's how I would feel. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. we have the same love language ^_^ how neat is that?

      Delete
    2. True, Tess. That does make things easier!
      :-)

      Delete
  10. That's so cool :) Its neat to know what other's love language is so that you get along better, knowing how to treat the other person!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Absolutely, Tess. It's worked for me lots in my life.

      Delete
  11. I remember my dad talking about the five love languages years ago... in fact, I'm guessing we might just have a copy around somewhere. I' moff to ponder my characters' love languages... I think this is going to add a whole lot of depth to my story.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maybe the book is in your house!!! Ooh...
      Have fun, Emii!

      Delete
  12. I'm a quality time person and I think my main character is too, because she is kind of like me. This is really cool, and I can't wait to take the test for my secondary characters :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good idea taking the test for your secondary characters!

      Delete
  13. It's awesome how totally random books(like marriage help) can improve our writing. I think my character would be the words one. I know I am. Thanks for the post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is awesome. Anything that helps a writer learn more about how people thing is useful, which is why psychology-type books like this one--that put's a concept in an easy-to-understand method--are so valuable. Aren't you glad this doesn't read like Freud? LOL

      Delete
  14. Wow, that's genius! I can totally see how it would help to know your character's love language. I may have to try and figure out Elli's now, and Finn's too...

    I think for me, personally, I tend to feel most love and loved when I'm spending quality time with the people I love. :) I'm also a big hugger, so maybe a bit of physical touching in there, too. Thanks so much for this advice, Jill, it's fantastic!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I know this almost a year after this post was made, but I just wanted to say that I only found it now, and the idea helped hugely. Knowing my characters' Love Languages brought several bits of important character-building to light, and it was a great exercise to put myself inside their heads while taking the quiz.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, me too! I really should have thought of this on my own though because my parents have the five love languages of children, which is the same guy writing, only about kids.

      Delete
    2. Thanks for the post. I already knew about the concept, but didn't think of using it when writing. Great idea!

      Delete

Disagreement is welcome. Rudeness is not. Please be considerate of each other!