I feel that the time has come for an explanation. Characterization is a strong suit of mine, as you might have guessed from reading my very first post, and even beyond my writing, I have a fascination for how people think. Therefore, when I discovered a tool called MBTI that shows how different people are wired, for me there was no going back to pantser characterization.
What is MBTI? It stands for Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, a personality assessment that gives you a four-letter acronym (yes, more letters!) according to your personality type and temperament. Using these acronyms, people can study the different personalities and gain a better understanding of how their friends (or characters) think.
Does that sound like a lot? It’s really not that hard. All you have to do is take an in-depth online test… or just answer four simple questions below.
Are you an Extrovert or Introvert? In other words, how do you get energized- by being around other people, or by being alone? What makes you tired- being alone, or being around other people? Extroverts (E) get energy from others, while Introverts (I) get energy from themselves. For example, I can only do one or two social events a week without burning out; I am an Introvert.
Are you Sensing or iNtuitive? Are you a big-picture person, or do you focus on details? Do you visualize the future, or do you keep your attention on the here-and-now? Sensors (S) look at what is, while iNtuitives (N) see what could be. Personally, I see big picture possibilities- after all, I write fantasy- so I am an N.
Are you Thinking or Feeling? Do you make decisions based on the end result, or do you consider the human side of things? Are you unemotional, or do you cry during movies? Thinkers (T) make decisions objectively, while Feelers (F) make decisions subjectively. I am more objective than not (most days of the week), so I am a T.
Are you Judging or Perceiving? Do you like schedules and planners, or would you rather improvise? Are you a control-freak, or are you messy? Judgers (J) are routinized, while Perceivers (P) are more spontaneous. I make plans for almost everything, so I am a J.
Now just put those four letters together. For example, my four-letter combination goes like this: Introvert + iNtuitive + Thinking + Judging=INTJ.
Once you know your type, go ahead and read about it! You can find accurate descriptions of each personality on this page. Then take some time to read through the other descriptions, and you are well on your way to typing your own characters. Of course, once you get into MBTI theories, you may start analyzing your friends to figure out their personality types, and in extreme cases you may end up typing the characters in your favorite movies. I’ve done it, and believe me: it is perfectly fine. Anything that makes you a better writer is a worthwhile exercise… right?
Now all we have to talk about is how we use MBTI for characters. But that must wait for next week’s post…
Have you ever heard of MBTI before? Tell me your personality type in the comments!