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Using Myers-Briggs to Craft Compelling Characters

When creating a character that your reader will connect with and become invested in, it’s important for them to feel like real people with real lives that matter. Do you plot your story first and then add characters to suit? Or maybe you create a character and then build a story around them. Either way works.
When crafting dynamic characters, it is helpful to consider some of your favorite characters. Make a list of the things that were intriguing. Things you hated about them. Things that made you turn the page for more.
There are several different resources you can use for creating characters. One that I particularly love to use is Myers-Briggs. With 16 different personality types, there are tons of details you can play with to craft beautifully complex characters. And when you look at the details of these personality types, you find tons of fodder for your beloved fictional creations. Here’s an example.
This is my Myers-Briggs personality type: ENFP
In this first image you can see all the characteristics that I might possess. So I could write a character that embodies several of these traits.
And then looking at the image below, you’ll see all the things that stress an ENFP. Check it out.
You can see by looking at this image how to stress out an ENFP. If you want to give your character some conflict, sprinkle in a few of these and watch them squirm.
For example, I could write a romance where the main female protagonist is an ENFP that is energetic and independent and creative. I can write scenes for her that show that she values all of these things. And then I can write this character falling in love with someone who embodies some of the things that will automatically stress her out. She’s a free-spirit and maybe he has tons of rules and expectations for how relationships should go. Instant conflict.
You’ll find graphics like these for all 16 personality types (both the traits and the things that stress them) here.
Here’s another fun way to use Myers-Briggs character types. Identify the character that you might want to emulate from a popular series, in this case Star Wars, and determine that characters Myers-Briggs classification.
You can even compare particular personality types to see how they would be compatible in relationships.
And there’s also this site which details out the fatal flaw of each personality type.
Screen Shot 2016-07-12 at 9.33.05 AM
If you know your character’s fatal flaw, you can have all kinds of fun with them. However you choose to craft your characters, remember to consider their greatest desire and their greatest fear and then challenge those!
Happy Writing!
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