sometimes they're all just blockheads
source: VFS Digital Design
Ever wanted to sit your characters down and go "Hey you! What's your problem?"
I find it extremely fun to play psychiatrist with my characters. One way to do that is with things like ...
The Jungian Personality Test
You've probably heard of it. It's the whole ISTP // INTJ // ENFP // ESFJ thingy that your parents or high school teachers talked about. Yes it's an over-simplification, and no it's not ideal for formal psychological diagnosis ... BUT it can be a great introspective process, and pretty fun for exploring your characters in a new way. There are many other personality tests too!
- Draw energy from being alone ... or from social situations?
- Form conclusions from observations & experimentation ...or prefer imagining possibilities & reading between the lines?
- Make decisions based on logic ... or on feelings?
- Prefer spontaneity/open-endedness ... or organization/closure?
Great. So How Do I Take the Personality Test?
So. I made up a shorter version of the test.
Yes, it is much pruned and reworded, but as it turns out (in the highly scientific sample of ten of my friends who took it) ... you'll likely get the same personality result with my mini non-scientific (33 questions) as you would with a longer 100+ questions version. So I thought I'd share it with you!
[ Take the (Short) Jungian-Type Personality Test Here ]
Apologies in advance, but you'll have to tabulate your responses to it yourself (I don't have Survey Monkey Pro) ... but hopefully this wont be too grueling. And eventually I'll try to get it out of my Survey Monkey and on this blog, but for now ... I'm just being lazy =)
Note: One interesting thing to observe is that for some of the traits, you'll find your responses more balanced, for others more blatantly to one side. For example, I am (at the moment) scoring as an ENFJ. I'm very strongly N & F, but nearly balanced on the E-I and P-J spectrum, meaning at other points in my life it's likely I could swing the other way.
What Can Jungian/Myers-Briggs Personality Info do for my Book & Its Characters?
Perhaps the best part is that once you've got a feeling for which of the 16 personality types your characters are, there's a
I won't go into this in detail in this post but here are some websites to get you started: Personality Desk // 16 Famous Book Characters & Myers-Briggs // TV Tropes: Myers-Briggs in Stories // My Personality //
With all these analyses in hand, are a few key things that Jungian-Typing can do for your story:
- Inspire new types of characters (so that they aren't all just like you and/or the opposite of you)
- Focus your characters (so that their personalities are clearer ... less muddied)
- Motivate your characters properly (not everyone is driven by the same carrots/sticks!)
- Understand characters that are different from you. Different personalities can/should react in different ways than you would.
The Sixteen Jungian Personality Types:
ISTJ - Inspector
ISFJ - Protector / Defender (the most common personality type)
INFJ - Counselor / Confidant (the rarest personality type)
INTJ - Mastermind / Strategist
ISTP - Crafter
ISFP - Artist / Composer
INFP - Healer / Dreamer
INTP - Architect / Engineer
ESTP - Promoter / Persuader
ESFP - Performer / Entertainer
ENFP - Champion / Advocate
ENTP - Inventor / Visionary
ESTJ - Supervisor
ESFJ - Provider / Supporter
ENFJ - Teacher / Mentor
ENTJ - Chief / Fieldmarshal
What about you? Do you ever find personality-typing useful when analyzing your characters? Your own relationships? Are personality types a help or a hindrance to you when developing your characters?
What resources have you found useful in exploring character personality? What are some other good testing or analysis resources?
How many of these personality types do you have in your story? How do they interact with one another? Can you see your own personality in the personalities of your characters?