CHARACTER: Week One

Hi, y’all, I thought I might start a series on characterization! There are so many ways to convey the personality of a character, many of which are passed up far too much. Over the next few weeks, I’ll go over a variety of often-overlooked sources of character development and plot inspiration! There will be a tag coming soon, but even if you aren’t tagged, feel free to borrow it- just make sure to link back! And without further ado:

Myers-Briggs Type Identifier

Okay, so this one is one of the more common of the overlooked, but I love it so much I couldn’t help but add it in here. MBTI is a LIFESAVER. Not only can it help to know your characters’ personality, but in taking the test for each one you get to know them so much better AND you have a plethora of Tumblr and Pinterest resources at your disposal. Need to know what your person is at 3 AM?

 

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(I might mention that this matches Julia perfectly. See this post for her type.)

 

Or how they’d act on an airplane?

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Granted, MBTI is not a definite thing. Some, say, ESTJs have more ESTJ traits than others. Other people could be a mix of the two. The percentage combinations (Melissa is 74% I, 95% N, 82% F, and 76% P) vary, and there are stereotypes. For example, as an INFP, I do not cry often- as mentioned in the Types At 3 AM picture above- despite the fact that I am roughly 89% INFP. People differ in real life, but that doesn’t mean that knowing your characters’ MBTI types can SERIOUSLY help in terms of deciding how they react.

MBTI is essential for my characters’ development. I don’t start out with the test (how do you know how to answer for them if you don’t know who they are, yet?), but once I find their place in the story, I’ll start testing. Side characters are a bit more difficult, depending on how side-character they are, but I’ll try to do them anyway.

If you’ve never taken the test before (or have heard that it costs money), DON’T WORRY. There is one (the official one) that costs money, but there are a ton of other tests that are free. My personal favorite is the 16personalities test, but it’s a good idea to take multiple ones for them. (I’ll link them all below.) I’ve found one that includes type, preferred type, and type most attracted to, one that shows the exact percentages of each type you fall into… there are SO MANY VARIATIONS. And they aren’t too difficult to find if you search around a little.

Taking the test is one of my favorite things to do for characters- you have to answer questions you might not have thought about, think about how they function in the world. They become even more real to you, what with having to think this way, and you might even gain some plot inspiration!


The Tests

Not an extensive list by any means- only a few I pulled from my list. Try a google search or Pinterest search to find more!

Loner Wolf Test: Simple- hardly more than five minutes. Good for fast results, although due to the brevity of it may not be wholly accurate. However, you will get a good idea of what your character’s type is like in the results! It is very easy to understand.

Similar Minds Test (Jung Personality, not strictly MBTI but very close to it): A little bit longer, with more information given. Percentages given (47% Introvert versus 45% Extrovert) along with links to more resources. Many more personality tests offered by the website.

16Personalities Test: My favorite test to date- takes a fairly short amount of time and gives EXTENSIVE results. Includes another category- Assertive (A) versus Turbulent (T), which is helpful in figuring out how your characters approach decisionmaking. Also gives a plethora of articles on type and how that influences other aspects of your life!


The Information

Most websites I’ve already given include either articles or links to articles about type, but here are some more!

Pinterest: I cannot suggest Pinterest more. When it comes to MBTI, I mainly find Tumblr posts that I’m too lazy to go on Tumblr for… I linked my board, to get you started!

Tumblr: BE CAREFUL AND MAY THE ODDS BE IN YOUR FAVOR. As you may well know, Tumblr is the black hole of the internet. Click on that link and you might never crawl out. Beartrap tendencies aside, there are many blogs focused on MBTI, and you can find a TON of information/random little facts that will stick in your head forever and never be helpful. So just be careful. Choose Pinterest instead. Though it isn’t much better.


 

There’s so much out there that I haven’t mentioned, but if you’re looking to begin trying Myers-Briggs as a character developer, this should get you off to a good start. If you have any questions, I’m happy to answer them- just comment or use the contact form! I’ve been using this for a while now, and I’m happy to just discuss it with you if you want! 😉

Next week I’ll be introducing a plot tool- one of the few mentioned in this series. Don’t forget to stop it to see it!

Hope you have a lovely day!


What about you? Have you used the Myers-Briggs Type Identifier for your characters? What have your experiences been like? What is your type, and how much do you think it applies to you?

 

 

Comments

8 comments on “CHARACTER: Week One”
  1. I like MBTI stuff! When I first discovered it, I used tests to figure out my own type, but then I started reading more about it in general to understand what the different letters represent (like E vs. I, T vs. F), and it became a lot less confusing and overwhelming once I understood that. And so for characters I just go through and think, “Ok, is Bob an introvert, or an extrovert?” and do that for each letter. If I’m unsure, I read up about it more or if I’m torn between, for example, INFJ and INTJ, I’ll read about those types and see which one fits better. I’m an INFJ myself, and it’s, for the most part, scary accurate, give or take a few things. The Tumblr type things you shared aren’t always so accurate, but they’re fun lol. And like you said, most people aren’t going to fit EXACTLY perfect into every single trait for their type, so those Tumblr type things can even just be a fun way to get ideas for character flaws and behaviors and whatnot. And I think one important thing when using MBTI is to remember that characters don’t have to fit perfectly and have every single trait exactly that their type has because then that becomes limiting. Great post! I’d really like to actually do more writing this year, so I’m looking forward to your upcoming posts 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. kathrynthies says:

      Same! I think I first learned about it maybe a year and a half ago, and it was kind of an “oh, that’s cool” sort of thing- until I found the MBTI section of the internet and that turned into more of a “GIMME ALL OF IT” sort of stance. 😉 I tend to fall into INFP/J, so it’s so interesting to see how other INFPs and other INFJs are similar and different! The stereotypes kinda bother me sometimes because I’m not all that outwardly emotional and I’m simultaneously the most organized and least organized person ever- but I can see how they were created. I love seeing the variance within the types, you know?
      I’m going to do these every Wednesday for the next few weeks as well as my normal posts! I’m hoping to do a tag either today or tomorrow for it; make sure you pick it up!

      Like

  2. I’ve actually never taken the test for myself so that’s going to be the first thing I do. I’m trying to get back into writing with whole new characters and plot and everything so this series is coming at exactly the right time 🙂
    I never thought about using MBTI before for writing. I usually just have characters do whatever I feel like, so this might be a challenge for me (in a good way).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. kathrynthies says:

      Oh, yes, definitely! Let me know what you are! 😉 I’m glad to know that this series is helpful!
      MBTI is SO helpful- in my experience, you get to throw so much more into their personalities when you know their type. I’m the same type as my Melissa, so I’ve even given her similar childhood memories as I have, lol! You can also find lists of famous people of a certain type and not only see the variance but also get ideas of personality aspects you can add to your people! If you’re working on developing your characters, don’t forget to pick up the tag! That’ll be up either today or tomorrow, and it should help even more!

      Like

  3. I find the MBTI really interesting, though I don’t know how much I buy into it from a more science-y/psychological perspective. BUT. BUT. BUT. Through tumblr I’ve been learning a lot about it, because there’s apparently a whole underlying system to the types, the letter combinations, and such. Apparently there are notions that contribute to the differences between individuals of the same type. I haven’t been ready to dive very deeply into this, but what I’ve seen is really interesting so far. I’d recommend looking it up if you have an afternoon free and want to get more in-depth with the MBTI stuff 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. kathrynthies says:

      Same! I like looking at it more from that science/psych standpoint, and it’s so interesting! I think people can put too much stock in it, but the concept seems right on.

      Liked by 1 person

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