Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Online personality tests

Over on The Blog That Helps You Diagnose Your Characters (which I read, because I do diagnose my characters) there was a link posted to an online personality test -- it's a version of the Myers-Briggs personality test, which is a handy link to have.

IMO, the best way to develop characters is to talk to them, carry them around in your head all day, make them do things, let them argue with me, and most importantly write about them... personality tests like this are handy as feedback on how well fleshed out they are (how much pondering it takes to figure out the character's answers clues me in to that) and to get additional insights/ideas about them.

And their relationships. 41Q is interesting in that it will let you compare two profiles once you've created them, so I did that for my trio of characters in Disciple -- yeah, it's another love triangle, how un-original -- and was intrigued by what came up.

Kate's profile

Kate comes up as an ISTJ, which is one letter off how I test in these things. That isn't too surprising, as the line between me and Kate has always been a bit blurry and I probably identify with her way too much. Other characters grow away from me more.

One might think this makes Kate an easy character for me to write, but I find myself second-guessing a lot. As well as pushing her away from me and encouraging her to be herself. Not me. (Though all characters are, in essence, a piece of yourself... writers are vast, they contain multitudes... that's a whole different blog post, though.)

Prince Kiefan's profile

Kiefan diverges a bit more: ESTJ. Two letters off me; this is a good thing. The description they give here is pretty close to how he's developed in my head. He's good prince material, just throw in "handsome," "likes to read," and "handy with swords" and... a few flaws, so he isn't too perfect. I've tried to keep him skating along the edge of arrogance and possessiveness.  

At first glance, it's pretty obvious that Kate and Kiefan have a lot of personality traits in common. They fell for each other pretty quickly on that basis.

What 41Q says about their relationship (edited down a bit):

Your relationship type: "Invalidation"
The state of invalidation cannot survive as a romance unless one partner is willing to take a subordinate position. One will be a stronger personality and will transmit orders to the other. The second partner is the receiver and is expected to carry out the orders. [...] This works out as a good romance and long-standing relationship if (one of them) accepts being subordinate in return for being supported and protected. [...] Each partner in this relationship is playing a role that benefits both of them. If both are satisfied, invalidation may remain a workable relationship and last through life.

The amusing part here is that I read this the morning after Kate and Kiefan first butted heads. It didn't turn into a big disagreement, but it could have. I hadn't planned for it to happen, either, they were just going with the sketched scene and Kiefan said one thing, Kate said no and... well, I guess now we know where the honeymoon ended.

How will this influence their relationship in the longer run? Could they escalate to some sort of emotional nuclear war? (Well, sure they could. There are some potential hot buttons on hand.) How will that impact the other aspects of my plot -- the kingdom's war, their personal development?

Tune in on Thursday for the third point in the triangle.


Josh Hoyt said...

I agree with you that it is important to get to know your characters and then use the personality test to flesh them out more. This is a great post. Thanks for the mention as well.

L. said...

Glad to point readers to a good site :)

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