Fortunately, my characters are not me and their responses are far more interesting than that.
|It's always a challenge to |
bring characters into focus.
Photo by Holger Dieterich,
available at sxc.hu
The Myers-Briggs personality types came up in two earlier blogs I wrote (first one, second one) and lately I've been using them some more to gauge my characters' responses.
Briefly, the sixteen Myers-Briggs personality types group people by their internal workings -- the interplay of intuition, thinking, feeling and sensing, and how they interact with the outside world -- and describe them in four letters. It's not a perfect system. Nothing is. But it can be useful.
You can find free MBTI quizzes online, and you can find descriptions of each of the types in Wikipedia and elsewhere. Figuring out which type fits your character best is a challenging process in itself, and it's a good excuse to sit down and get to know him/her better.
Some descriptions geared toward workplace abilities, some toward romantic compatibilities. They all tend to use neutral language, though. They focus more on the positives than the negatives. And they're very much generalizations.
So I've been hanging out at the Personality Cafe, (they have free MB quizzes & descriptions there) where each MBTI has its own forum and chat about both MBTI issues and real-world situations. In reading through threads of particular types giving each other advice -- and trying to explain themselves to other types -- I picked up a lot of useful insight into what's important to my characters. Then I tried to translate those things into the context of the world they live in.
Because they're not like me. Which is good.
Bonus: A while back, The Character Therapist polled writers about their MB types and posted the intriguing results here.