THE BIG IDEA-ER: This individual comes into the room with a vision, a big idea, sometimes a single visual, occasionally a cool plot twist, and will move heaven and earth to see it realized. In the hands of a pro, it will all come together in glorious fashion, but a lesser writer will drag the entire room kicking and screaming into the abyss.
THE MASTER SPINNER: This individual can take a kernel of an idea and spin it into narrative gold. Fearless, endlessly creative, I’ve seen this type generate an entire episode from a single misheard word.
CAPTAIN LOGIC: As the vanguard of logic, this individual ensures that every beat of your story makes perfect sense, from character motivations to astrophysics. On the one hand, this results in tight, well-structured episodes; on the other, they can be a real creative show-stopper.
THE DEFLATOR: This individual has a knack for throwing out lame ideas that will grind the proceedings to a halt, sucking the creative air out of the room and forcing the other writers to entertain their imbecilic notions before resuming track.
THE SPOT PICKER: This individual is generally quiet for the most part but, every once in a blue moon, will pipe up with an idea so brilliant that it will blow the story off its creative hinges.
THE FOLLOWER: This individual, generally a lost cause in the room, will offer little in the way of actionable contributions. Fully aware of their shortcomings, they will follow up someone else’s brilliant idea with a slight embellishment or, in some cases, proclaim co-ownershp of the idea with an ass-covering: “I was just about to say that!”
THE CIRCLE-BACKER: This individual performs better as a solo artist than an in-room collaborator. As such, they will often bring their work home with them after the writers’ room wraps up for the day, hashing out a solution to narrative roadblocks overnight, then returning with most, if not all, the answers the following morning.
THE GREENHORN: A newbie, this first-timer will make the occasional gaffes, pitch out the most implausible of ideas, but, over time, will find their footing and become a solid contributor.
THE CHARACTER GENERATOR: This individual will approach every story beat viewed through a character lens, eschewing plot concerns and construction for a single-minded focus on the characters – their actions, their motivations, and how each contributes to fleshing out and fully realizing them.
THE GHOST: A non-entity who will occasionally make their presence known with an idea as insubstantial as their presence in the room.
In truth, most writers are a mix of several of the above, but always predominantly one type. I, for instance, am, for the most part, a definite Circle-Backer. Which type are you?