Saturday, August 20, 2005

Myers-Briggs and Writing

I'm fascinated with Myers-Briggs types - how I can use them to understand people better, including my characters. Determining a person's type has now become a vital part of my character-building. It helps prevent me from using a similar hero/heroine in all my stories. It provides framework to flesh out characters consistently. It makes it easier to see what a person will do in a situation. (It doesn't help with varying sentence structure, though.)

I'm also curious how my type influences me as a writer, and how others' types influence them. Do extroverts do more speaking to promote themselves? Do intuitives delve more into hidden meaning, while sensors focus on real life? Does character- vs. plot-driven novels have anything to do with whether the writer was a feeler or thinker? Are perceivers SOTP writers while judgers outline?

I'd love to hear your comments on how your type relates to your writing. Here's a questionnaire if you don't know your type, and here and here are great sites for learning more about Myers-Briggs.

I'm an INFP - introverted intuitive feeling perceiver - which happens to also be the type of Isabel Briggs Myers, who did much with developing and promoting type theory. My type has a lot to do with how and why I write.

I - I'm an introvert, so I get energy from spending time alone. I'm more comfortable with writing to express myself rather than speaking. Long hours in front of a computer screen don't bother me.

N - Intuitive. I've found that most writers share this type. Intuitives like working with ideas, while sensors prefer concrete, tangible things. Ideas are a writer's lifeblood.

F - I'm a feeler, which is more common for women than men. I like my readers to empathize strongly with my characters, and also enjoy a romance plot or subplot.

P - A perceiver, one who prefers keeping options open. I'm wondering if the "P" should also stand for procrastinator in my case. I don't like structuring my day or my writing, and start novels on the barest of outlines.

3 comments:

David Bridger said...

New-ish to the world of blog, I was clicking through Christian writer links when this post leapt off the screen towards me.

Ah ha! Yes! I've been thinking about using Myers-Briggs to help build the characters of my next novel.

I'm an ENFP. We're quite similar to your type, but bonkers with it. When I first plunged into the world of Myers-Briggs earlier this year - studying the personality types of my family members and certain friends as well as my own type - pennies dropped in showers all over my memory banks.

Suddenly, so many things make sense, don't they? It's good stuff.

Nice to meet a fellow enthusiast, Katie. I shall go and read some more of your blog now.

William G. said...

I remember taking the BM test in college. I don't remember what I was; I do remember the teacher putting up the most common BM results for successful CEOs of large companies. I was the exact opposite of that. Hmmmm...

Katie Hart said...

Bill, I've heard that "the" business/CEO type is ESTJ - which would make you an INFP as well. You might want to take a quick test online or something to confirm that. Thanks for stopping by!

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