Creating dynamic, complex characters is important if you want your readers to care about them. It’s also important to ensure that your characters have their own distinct personalities. Just like people in real life, each character should have their own way of speaking, their own way of thinking, and their own way or reacting to a situation. No two characters should be exactly alike. One way to get to know your characters better, and to understand what motivates them, is to identify their Myers-Briggs personality type.
You may have taken this test in high school or college, or you may have been given this test for a job. There are 16 different personality types, and by answering the questions as your character would, you can learn who they are and why they do what they do.
I decided to take the test as Mara, Corbin, and Malcolm; my three main characters in The Dia Chronicles. Since I’ve written three books with these characters, I know them well and had no trouble answering the questions from their perspectives. I found the results fascinating, and completely in line with who they are.
Mara’s personality type didn’t surprise me much. When I take the test myself I’m always defined as an INFJ, and since I intentionally created Mara to mirror my own thoughts and feelings, she tested as an INFJ as well.
MARA – INFJ
Introvert(89%) iNtuitive(75%) Feeling(38%) Judging(33%)
- You have strongpreference of Introversion over Extraversion (89%)
- You have distinctpreference of Intuition over Sensing (75%)
- You have moderatepreference of Feeling over Thinking (38%)
- You have moderatepreference of Judging over Perceiving (33%)
The INFJ personality type is very rare, making up less than one percent of the population, but they nonetheless leave their mark on the world. As Diplomats (NF), they have an inborn sense of idealism and morality, but what sets them apart is the accompanying Judging (J) trait – INFJs are not idle dreamers, but people capable of taking concrete steps to realize their goals and make a lasting positive impact.
- Inspiring and Convincing
- Determined and Passionate
- Extremely Private
- Always Need to Have a Cause
- Can Burn Out Easily
Corbin’s test results surprised me a little because he wasn’t a character that was as plotted out as Mara. He created himself as I wrote, and now that I see his definition, it really does fit his profile, especially because it says this personality type would be found in a military position. Perfect for a soldier like him. 🙂
Introvert(22%) Sensing(1%) Thinking(1%) Judging(78%)
- You have slightpreference of Introversion over Extraversion (22%)
- You have marginal or nopreference of Sensing over Intuition (1%)
- You have marginal or nopreference of Thinking over Feeling (1%)
- You have strongpreference of Judging over Perceiving (78%)
The ISTJ personality type is thought to be the most abundant, making up around 13% of the population. Their defining characteristics of integrity, practical logic and tireless dedication to duty make ISTJs a vital core to many families, as well as organizations that uphold traditions, rules and standards, such as law offices, regulatory bodies and military. People with the ISTJ personality type enjoy taking responsibility for their actions, and take pride in the work they do – when working towards a goal, ISTJs hold back none of their time and energy completing each relevant task with accuracy and patience.
- Honest and Direct
- Strong-willed and Dutiful
- Very Responsible
- Calm and Practical.
- Create and Enforce Order
- Stubborn Insensitive
- Always by the Book
- Judgmental Often Unreasonably Blame Themselves
Malcolm’s profile was spot on! Answering the test questions from his perspective was easy, and the resulting definition sums up Malcolm perfectly.
Extravert(78%) iNtuitive(12%) Thinking(38%) Perceiving(22%)
- You have strongpreference of Extraversion over Introversion (78%)
- You have slightpreference of Intuition over Sensing (12%)
- You have moderatepreference of Thinking over Feeling (38%)
- You have slightpreference of Perceiving over Judging (22%)
The ENTP personality type is the ultimate devil’s advocate, thriving on the process of shredding arguments and beliefs and letting the ribbons drift in the wind for all to see. Unlike their more determined Judging (J) counterparts, ENTPs don’t do this because they are trying to achieve some deeper purpose or strategic goal, but for the simple reason that it’s fun. No one loves the process of mental sparring more than ENTPs, as it gives them a chance to exercise their effortlessly quick wit, broad accumulated knowledge base, and capacity for connecting disparate ideas to prove their points.
- Quick Thinkers
- Excellent Brainstormers
- Very Argumentative
- Can Find It Difficult to Focus
- Dislike Practical Matters
If you want to get to know your characters better, try taking the test from their perspective. There’s a free version here.
And you can find in-depth definitions here.
Let me know how your characters tested. 🙂
** Added – You can also use these profiles to determine how your characters will interact with each other, and what their challenges with each other might be. For example, if you have an ISFP character and an ESFJ character, research the relationship between the two.