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October 24, 2012

Writer Wednesday: N. K. Smith

I recently had to take a personality profile test for my day job. It’s called The Color Code. I’m not sure if any of you have heard of this test, but if you like personality tests, you might enjoy getting insight into who you are, and just as important, who the people around you are. Turns out, like 35% of the population, I’m blue.

What does that mean? It means my prime motivator is intimacy. What’s significant about this (to me) is what this means for my writing. When I look back at the novels I’ve written or the short stories I’ve produced, or even the tales in my head that haven’t made it onto the screen or paper yet, I realize intimacy is what I generally write about.

Having gotten the results of the personality test, I’ve thought about the characters I’ve written. Many of my main characters are driven to connect somehow, in some way. If you take my novel Ghosts of Our Pasts, there’s an array of characters all seeking some form of connection to another person. Not all of would be coded as “blue” for their primary colors. There are a few characters who are driven by power and few by peace and some by fun, but ultimately I think I created characters who want intimacy on a basic level because it’s a central focus in my life.

Now, just like in Ghosts of Our Pasts, I’m not always actively searching for this grand idea of intimacy with other people. In fact, I would say that I practice selective intimacy, similar to the lead character Will, who has isolated himself so much that his own twin brother has to beg him to share a meal with his family.

I’m not so far gone as Will, but I seek to maintain intimacy with a few people, rather have a million friends I share myself with.

The premise of the Color Code is that these motivators are innate; you’re born with them. In my novel My Only, I would say the lead character, Adam, is motivated by intimacy (namely, his desire to have a real connection with someone special), whereas his twin brother, Aaron, is motivated by fun. Aaron does what he wants, when he wants, and for the most part doesn’t care what anyone else thinks about it. When the new girl, Olivia, who’s motivated by peace, shows up, both brothers go for her. The interesting thing to watch is how their prime motivators (intimacy and fun) influence and affect how they approach her.

In my first erotic novel, the forthcoming Hollywood Lies (June 2013 release), the backdrop of the film industry sets the stage for out these characters search for meaningful relationships and connection. It’s great fun to think about how the environment, the situation, and the person you’re after can contribute to how your primary motivator manifests into behavior. Again, not all of the characters would be considered motivated by intimacy; some just want to be left alone, but still seek out that basic human connection that can feed our souls.

So what’s more important in life? Intimacy, Fun, Power, or Peace? That is a very personal question on a lot of levels and the answer (at least for me) is that it depends on the person and the situation. Just because a profile test told me I want intimacy more than anything, doesn’t mean I don’t make decisions based on a want or need of the other three. I think that’s important to note when crafting characters you’d meet in real-life. They might have a central motivating factor, but they are heavily influenced by environment, culture, and other people.

I love personality tests because it gives me insights on myself and those around me, but taking this one made me realize the importance it has on creating characters. I’ve enjoyed thinking about those characters I’ve created in the past, and I’m excited to apply this unique way of thinking to those characters I’m crafting now and in the future. (And don’t get me started on Myers-Briggs or the Harrison assessment!)

Come visit me:


Twitter: @NKSmithwrites


About the Author:

Based in the American Midwest, N.K. Smith is the author of six novels including the Old Wounds series, Ghosts of Our Pasts, and My Only, and is a Technical Writer for a Fortune 100 company. She is a mother of two who finds the time to write very early in the morning when the rest of the world is still fast asleep.

An avid lover of history, art, music, books, and people, she is interested in telling stories that speak to the human condition.

Ghost of Our Pasts at Amazon and IndieBound
My Only at Amazon 

The views, beliefs, and opinions expressed by guest post authors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views, beliefs, or opinions of Girl Who Reads. Girl Who Reads is an advertising affiliate with Amazon and IndieBound; a small fee is earned when purchases are made using the above links.


  1. I love learning about personalities and enjoyed the post. I am an INTJ (Myers/Briggs) I love writing and educating people on personalities as well. I especially love researching and learning about my own "unique" personality. Turns out I am a rare commodity! lol There are not very many of us out there. Enjoyed the post. Donna

  2. I love your new site, but I have to admit I miss the other one. I loved the colors and the friendliness it exuded. Although this is much more business like. Great job.