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TGR, Gutenberg, Rubric

March 2015



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TGR, Gutenberg, Rubric

Johari Window

I posted this on 2005NaNoWriMo, but I want to record it here on my own LJ as well.

While talking to a friend about my character sketches this morning he introduced me to the concept of the Johari Window. He said that I should plot out my characters in terms of four quadrants. The first is what is known about the character by both himself and others. It's called the "Open" quadrant. The second is known to others but is not known to the character himself. It's the "Blind" quadrant. Then there is what is known by the character that is unknown to others, or the "Hidden" quadrant. Finally, there is the "Unknown" quadrant in which neither the character nor others know about the character. A good story line is largely about what is in the Unknown quadrant with conflict and crisis occurring in the Blind and Hidden quadrants. I looked it up on the web and you can find info at http://www.noogenesis.com/game_theory/johari/johari_window.html.

I got to looking at this and realized that you could take any pair of characters in your story and plot the Johari Window based on several different criteria. There is not just what is known, but there is a comparison for example about what the characters believe about any given condition or event in your story. Here is how it goes: Both protagonist and antagonist know a building burned down on 43rd Street. The antagonist knows that he set the fire but the protagonist doesn't know who set the fire. The protagonist knows he escaped the fire, but the antagonist doesn't know he escaped. Neither of them are aware that there was a witness to both events watching from a window across the street.

That's a pretty simple example, but you find out very quickly what the points in common and hidden from each other are. Everytime you add a character to the mix, you double the number of windows. The witness, for example, knows there was a fire, knows the antagonist set it, knows the protagonist escaped, and knows he saw it all, but what none of the three of them know is that they are all related to each other.

I'm going to do some more work on my characters, especially around the key crises in my story. What is the viewpoint of each of the characters involved and what sets up their essential conflicts. It should be an interesting exercise. (And it's something to do while I'm waiting to get started writing on 11/1!)


Hey, thanks for adding me to your friends list. I added ya back! Looking forward to your NaNo novel!
I love this! I am so taking it and trying it out. Hopefully, it'll help me even more with my character stuff... they've kind of been lazing about the house for the last two days. ;) I like your LJ posts btw.