Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: character types

This Page Intentionally Blank


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 CharactersVery 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 explore a use-it-right-now version thank to Bill…

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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Very Special Characters ~ Revisited


A previous post, Very Special Characters, mentioned that, “All the characters in a well-written story are “special” or they wouldn’t be there–each has their part to play

It also mentioned minor, significant, and major characters. Then, it brought up Very Special Characters–those who have extra or extraordinary qualities

I’m extremely curious about any reader’s conception of and experience with these step-off-the-page, break-the-rules, enlightening characters.

In this revisiting of these eccentric personages, I need to mention two more from the book, Notes from An Alien.

First is Anglana, the ultra-alien character in a book full of aliens.

Notes from An Alien happens about 12 light-years form Earth but, as the Prologue explains, it was written to level-out most of the differences between Earthlings and Angians since the goal of the book is to see the similarities between Angi’s and Earth’s struggles toward enduring peace.

Well into the book, the Angians discover an entity without a conventional body–she inhabits a whole planet and, in significant ways, Is the planet. She has powers that give her preeminence in any political or economic negotiations and she facilitates some of the major characters’ development and success.

Yet, even with all these attributes, she isn’t The Major Character of the book–she’s “merely” a critical Very Special Character:-)

Another of these VS characters in Notes from An Alien may not even be thought of as a “character”.

It’s a natural form of matter (though given some seemingly unnatural qualities in the story) and it constitutes about 99.9% of all matter in our Universe. It’s name is Plasma.

Since you can get the book for no cost, with the link near the top of the left side-panel (or, right here), I won’t go into an explanation of Plasma’s attributes, except to say that without this “non-character” Very Special Character, the story would grind to a halt

OK, it’s your turn: what are some of the odd-ball, what-the-heck, I-don’t-believe-the author-did-that, out-of-space-and-time, or completely unusual characters You’ve run into??
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