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?

20 thoughts on “December 23, 2017: The Ten Types of Writers You’ll Find in a Writers’ Room!

  1. A spot picking, circle backer greenhorn. I had always wanted to know my species

  2. Big Idea-er with a mix of Captain Logic.
    And someday, I will actually be able to construct a plot and a decent story.

  3. I’ve never been part of a writers’ room, but I’m whatever is best summed up as “The Loud, Immature Jerk”. I also eat all the things, then break wind and blame it on the dog, even when there’s no dog around.

  4. Probably a big idea-er/circle backer. I love the idea of someone hammering out the details, but I probably couldn’t help myself but try to work it own my own.

    I always saying if I had put all my ideas that pop up in my life into reality I would be Millionaire for sure ..but I like to give them up because I know I can’t make them reality but others can

  6. Hmm. I would be a greenhorn, hopefully evolving into the character generator – although Captain Logic sounds rather familiar 😶

  7. I would be the Ghost. Sooo not a writer at all! Very un-creative, with terrible grammar.

  8. All of the above at one point or another and sometimes in the same 24 hour period. 😀

    Wishing my beautiful blog family the happiest of holidays!

    Love ya xo

  9. I think for the most part, I’d be Captain Logic. All we have to do to confirm that is harken back to: “How did Carson manage to blow up?” in SGA.

  10. Although writing AGameAWeek alone every week isn’t quite the same as your writers’ room, I do recognise all these bits of personality within myself. .. Is that a bad thing?!! I hope not!!

    Generating the raw idea, spinning it out, picking at the holes, REALLY picking at the holes, fixing it all up and somehow making it all work before I start the whole process again.
    For me it’s a weekly adventure in general insanity!

    I’m starting to get a bit repetitive, though. I could really do with the occasional Greenhorn to come up with something fresh and original.

  11. Very interesting and entertaining.

    I wish someone would do a similar analysis of the types of groups I’ve been involved with. Although, honestly, organizers and political hacks would probably have more dark-side characters.

  12. I’d be Captain Logic The Character Generator. I love seeing things through the characters’ eyes, but it all better make some sort of sense (to me, at least 😉 ) or I’ll make a fuss. 🙂


  13. I be the one who is in it for the donuts. Otherwise, I’d probably be a mix of all of the above. Pass the donuts please!

  14. I bet there are some stories for each of those writing styles you described. 😉

    I’d have to say I’m several of those styles. Captain Logic first but I’m with Ponytail on the donuts!

    Did you put a bid on any condos yet? I bet you’re Mom & Sis are excited. It’s been a long time since you’ve lived nearby.

  15. A combination of THE BIG IDEA-ER, THE MASTER SPINNER, and THE CHARACTER GENERATOR. It’s a curse in a way, because I am endlessly creative, but lack the mechanism to fire off the ideas to the public. I never create something I would not enjoy/purchase myself, so I hold my ideas to a very high standard. It’s gotta “pop” and have high re-watchability/re-readability, or else I’m not interested.

  16. I genuinely want to know what happens when you have several Master Spinners in a room, each with their own ideas. Do they meld? Or is it a disaster of nuclear proportions?

  17. And if you could put together a “dream team of writers” who would lift each other higher than they could rise singly, which of the above would you include? Which types feed off of each other to the benefit of all?

  18. I would definitely be the Character Generator. When putting my favorite films of the year in order, titles like “The Shape of Water” ended up lower down on the list because the characters, in my opinion, were not as clearly drawn (or were more derivative of other films) than those in highly original films such as “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.”

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