The Emotional Toolbox Character Map


I was fortunate enough to hear Laurie Hutzler speak about her character paradigm called the Emotional Toolbox. She has divided characters into nine main types depending on how they perceive the world and how they handle conflict.

According to Laurie, each character falls into a diamond structure. The first point is the character’s strongest, prevalent traits; often to a fault. On the opposite side, there is fear which causes conflict in the character. A mask is often used to hide a character’s true self and avoid vulnerability and revealing their truest, higher self.

CONSCIENCE: These characters set a high moral bar for themselves and fear falling short of it. They are driven by a sense of duty, order, rules and definite perceptions of what is right or wrong. They are often leaders.

IDEALISM: These characters see life as a grand opera full of tumultuous, epic, intense, passionate and emotional.

EXCITEMENT: These characters avoid responsibility, are spontaneous, fun, flexible, creative and escapist. They view life as a playground. They abhor feeling trapped.

LOVE: These characters are passionate fighters as they struggle between loving themselves and loving others.

WILL: These are dichotomous characters that dominate rather than submit. They view life as a battleground and will fight to win to the death.

REASON: These characters see life as a struggle against chaos as they strive for order and logic. They avoid intimacy and delay over making the slightest decision.

TRUTH: These characters view the world with suspicion, uncertainty, pessimism and self doubt. They carry secrets as they search for the ultimate truth.

IMAGINATION: These characters reflect a child like innocence and are unlikely heroes. They are dreamers, optimists and view the world as an opportunity to unify adversaries.

AMBITION: These are young, driven, narcissistic, hard working hustlers. They lack intimacy and fear failure by social standards. They prefer image over substance and performance over feelings.

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