The Four Temperaments and Writing

We belong to a writers group down here and usually at their monthly meeting they’ll have a guest speaker, this month it was speakers, half a dozen, all members of the writers group.

The topic was the four temperaments for poets and writers. This session emphasized poetry. As opposed to the four humors or temperaments of Shakespeare’s time, these four are Story, Music, Imagination and Structure, developed by Gregory Orr, an American poet and it uses the assessment shown below. (Scroll down.)

Step One: Check the one word or phrase in each set that is most like you.

Step Two: Count the number of times you chose #1, #2, #3, or #4.

Step 3: Add them up. The total is 24.

Where is your highest count, e.g., 1 = 23, that is your temperament.

1 = Story

2 = Music

3 = Imagination

4 = Structure

So when you write, you tend to write in a certain temperament. Unless you are The Bard and can include all four temperaments in a work.

Here is a link to Orr’s explanation.


Temperament Assessment


About Bob McCarthy

Originally from the Northeast, I now call Southwest Florida home. I have been a professional copywriter and editor since 1979, both freelance and in house. I have had article published in regional, national and international magazines. Plus, a video for which I wrote the script won an industry award as Best Training Video.
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