This Page Intentionally Blank is the name of a blog that has a recent post called, Making Characters Real. I saw the title and immediately thought of two posts I’d written: Very Special Characters & Very Special Characters ~ Revisited. I touched on minor, significant, major, very special, and meta characters. But, all characters need a rationale for their being–some underlying psychology that helps the author create them and justifies their actions in the story.
So, up steps Bill Jones, with his blog post on making characters real…
Ever feel surprised by something that immediately reminds you of a pleasurable time in your life? Kind of like being swept up and back at the same time.
Bill did that for me by bringing up a personality test I’d studied and used extensively back in the 90s–the Myers-Briggs Type Indicators. That’s the “official page” but you can find a use-it-right-now version by checking out Bill’s blog post.
He sketches-out the way he uses the personality types in the Myers-Briggs system to give substance to his characters as well as find fascinating personality combinations for character interactions.
Bill gives a hint of the usefulness of the personality types by showing his own profile:
“ENTJs are natural born leaders. They live in a world of possibilities where they see all sorts of challenges to be surmounted, and they want to be the ones responsible for surmounting them. They have a drive for leadership, which is well-served by their quickness to grasp complexities, their ability to absorb a large amount of impersonal information, and their quick and decisive judgments. They are ‘take charge’ people.”
I hadn’t answered the profile questions in quite awhile (yes, your profile can change over time) so I took the test again. Here’s my profile:
“To outsiders, INTJs may appear to project an aura of ‘definiteness’, of self-confidence. This self-confidence, sometimes mistaken for simple arrogance by the less decisive, is actually of a very specific rather than a general nature; its source lies in the specialized knowledge systems that most INTJs start building at an early age. When it comes to their own areas of expertise — and INTJs can have several — they will be able to tell you almost immediately whether or not they can help you, and if so, how. INTJs know what they know, and perhaps still more importantly, they know what they don’t know.”
So, I hadn’t changed from the last time I took the test but then I’m 65 and rather settled in my ways :-)
Do check out Bill’s post and, if you take the personality test (it’s relative short), it would be great if you came back and let me know how well it captured your basic nature.
I’d also be intensely interested if you shared how you think this method of sketching out personality could be used in character creation!
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