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-- the fearless type --
We love characters around here, and we love building them. So today we wanted to share one of our favorite tools for developing insanely dynamic, rich and relatable characters-- by using MBTI.
(While this post is strictly about MBTI, we recommend learning both MBTI and the Enneagram typing system for an all around view of your characters. The MBTI is how the world sees you/your character, and Enneagram is how you/your character see the world, so together they form a complete picture).
WHAT IS MBTI:
MBTI -- or Myers Brigg Type Indicator -- is a personality typing system that uses elements called cognitive functions to figure out sixteen different personality types. It's purposely crafted to make the theory of psychological types easy to understand and accessible to the everyday person. Not only does this help people towards a path of self development, but it can also help us understand others. That's where MBTI for book characters come in.
In our workbook we've talked about the simplest approach to typing, and that's to take the whole system at a surface level to make quick assumptions. This can be an easy way to get started for several reasons. It can give you a jumping off point that helps you focus on one or two of the closest matches quickly, and it can help you bypass a lot of the psychology if that's not your thing. We still recommend trying out MBTI by using the functions (we call it in depth typing and it's the second half of this post), but if you want a refresher on quick-typing, read on.
Each MBTI personality type is a combination of four letters, and those letters essentially become the name of the type. At it's most basic form, it boils down to: Are you extroverted or introverted, are you a sensor or an intuitive, are you a thinker or a feeler, and lastly: are you a judger or a perceiver?
It's important to get a good understanding of what these words actually mean and stand for, because if you don't it is extremely easy not only to mistype but to fall prey to many stereotypes. Let's take a closer look at each part of the equation.
To do a quick type, simply go through each section and pick which side you feel correlates to your character more. Once you have your final combination, begin your research on that type and decide if it fits your character.
Extrovert vs Introvert = E or I
Sensor vs Intuitive = S or N
Thinker vs Feeler = T or F
Judger vs Perceiver = J or P
The total combinations of these letters create the 16 types: INTJ, INTP, ENTJ, ENTP, INFJ, ENFJ, INFP, ENFP, ISTJ, ESTJ, ISFJ, ESFJ, ISTP, ESTP, ISFP, ESFP.
IN DEPTH TYPING:
As we mentioned before, using the quick typing method is really more like educated guesswork at best, and at its worst it could result in mistyping. The reason for this is because it's difficult to break down each type into merely eight distinct differences without losing a lot of the depth to the psychology of it.
This is where the cognitive functions come in. The truth of the matter is, everyone has elements of introversion and extroversion, sensing and intuition, thinking and feeling, and perceiving and judging. We just use them all in different ways, and are stronger or weaker in some areas than others. There are eight functions, and they get to the nitty-gritty of the personality type. Because everyone is able to think, feel, use their intuition and use their senses, it comes down to how do you use each specific part? Are you using it in an introverted manner or an extroverted way? Everyone has a combination of some functions being used in an introverted way and some being extroverted--it's always in a pattern, E-I-E-I or I-E-I-E. It's simply a matter of figuring out what the combination is, and in what order the thinking, feeling, sensing and intuitive factors fall.
Every possible combination of these functions becomes the sixteen MBTI personality types. Here's a quick cheat sheet to help you out!
Another place with lots of great references and charts is at Personality Hacker. They have a page full of guides, as well as a podcast and blog articles. If you want a great website to get a quick grasp on all the types individually, head to 16 Personalities. It's a great go-to place to check into the types.
So there you have it! You are now equipped to use the Myers-Brigg Type indicator to craft rich, amazing, realistic characters. Oh, and if you figure out your own type in the process, be sure to head over to our posts on our top tips for introverted and extroverted writers!
With the seedling of any new idea, one of the first questions is usually who are my characters? In many circumstances, though, characters get a bit of developing and then all the focus goes to the plot. This isn't to say the plot isn't important -- it is-- but a key component to making sure you have a solid plot is really getting to know your characters. Perhaps we should even say it is time to make friends with your characters. After all, it is their story.
WHY YOU SHOULD MAKE FRIENDS WITH YOUR CHARACTERS:
HOW YOU CAN MAKE FRIENDS WITH YOUR CHARACTERS:
SOME QUESTIONS TO ASK THEM:
We encouraged you to ask your character some questions, so we have below ten to get you started. That's not all though! We have a free workbook with 100 questions all for your character to answer. They range from relationship oriented ones to deep and personal, but regardless, you will walk away knowing your character more intimately than ever before. So be sure to snag a copy before you leave!
Without further ado, here are ten questions to ask your character!
So there you have it. Making friends with fictional characters has never been easier! Why don't you share a bit about your characters by leaving a comment giving your character's answers to one or two of the questions above?
It's the time of year when writers all over begin preparing for the mammoth achievement of writing a novel in a month. While it is definitely attainable, it is definitely a moment where one has to truly rise to the task. If you've done this before, you probably know what I'm talking about, but if you haven't let's jump into why people even want to do something like this in the first place.
SO, WHY SHOULD I WRITE A NOVEL IN A MONTH?
There are plenty more reasons, which we've covered in the past. We have a previous post about why you might want to participate in National Novel Writing Month and more on what that is, but the truth is that even if you don't want to join an actual organization the points in that post about WHY you should try writing a novel in a month are still super valid. So if this is a new concept to you, definitely go check out all our reasons on why writing a novel in such a short amount of time is a great idea.
Now that you've decided to take up the challenge, it's important to prepare properly for the month to come. October is commonly referred to as Preptober in the writing community, so we're here with the entire master list on how to prep effectively.
HOW TO PREP:
So there you have it! Before this post ends, we wanted to share one more resource called Plot Factory that can totally explode your novel planning and help you stay organized. There are several levels of subscription options, but also a free version. Here you can create and store information on your world, characters, plot, scenes and more! It's especially useful if you're planning an epic series, world-hopping projects or even novels that tie into other books.
That's all for today. Leave a comment on your favorite part of Preptober if you've done it before, and if not, what was your favorite idea listed in today's post?