Character Building / Characters / Writing

Choosing the Core of Your Character – An Explanation of the Myers-Briggs Central Types

Hello, Lovelies! If you’ve been keeping track of the recent posts then you know that my research has led me in a direction I hadn’t anticipated. As a Plot-Driven Writer, I put the plot first. I come up with the points, the climax, all those gloriously magnificent moments first, but my characters lack depth. So I’m on an in-depth research journey to figure out how to bring my characters to life.

In this article, I’m going to explain the system involved in discovering the central personality of a character using Myer-Briggs.

The tests breaks down into 16 distinct personality types, but they are branches of four basic groups.

  • NF
  • SJ
  • NT
  • SP

If you’re good at math, you’ve realized by now that each group has four types, which is how you end up with the 16 total combinations. But the question is how do we determine which basic group a character belongs to.

Tools and Words

The groups are made based on two things: your distinct speech pattern, or way of speaking; and what tools you use in order to achieve your goals.

Let’s break that down.

Tools

There are two types of tools used to achieve what you want to do: Cooperative and Utilitarian.

Cooperators will try to achieve their goal while making sure that the people they involve are happy. They compromise if needed, but foremost, they want to get where they’re going without pissing off the people they have to work with.

Utilitarians want to achieve their goal in the most efficient way possible. They don’t care who’s in the way or what it takes, they will do whatever it takes in order to get to the end result in the cleanest, fastest way. They care little whether it’s traditional, or legal.

Words

This is where things get a little tricky for me to explain properly, mostly because I’m still having trouble understanding it.

Suffice it to say that the two types of speech are Abstract and Concrete.

Abstract speech uses a lot of metaphors. They’re more comfortable with ideas of things than they are down and dirty details. It’s not necessarily grandiose speech, but it is using words like honor and courage. They use words that don’t necessarily have a pinned down definition. They’re abstract words.

Concrete speech is the opposite. They prefer details. They want to get the idea across without any fanciful additions. Honor isn’t a thing. Courage isn’t a thing. They want you to come to those words on your own and think, “Yes, that was honorable.” They won’t outright use it, because that’s telling you without giving you a reason to believe it. Beautiful isn’t a thing. They’ll describe the place like they were explaining it to someone who’s blind: in detail, and then let the other person decide if it’s beautiful or not.

How do the groups relate to Tools and Words?

I found an explanation of this information and a chart to make things easier. Although I recommend reading David Kiersey’s Please Understand Me II, it can be a difficult read. I often get lost when trying to figure out exactly how everything fits together, so if you’d like to skip the 400 page psychological analysis I’ll be posting my research as I go.

Here’s what I found.

Now if you saw the post the other day, or if you’re familiar with the Myer-Briggs types, then you can see how the groups are involved with the 16 types. For example, the INTJ falls under NT, the abstract utilitarian.

Here’s some generic summaries for the types.

NF: friendly to the core. dream of giving meaning and wholeness to people’s lives. Conflict is painful so they care deeply about keeping morale high in their loved ones and keeping their self-image positive. Humane and sympathtic. Creative and Intuitive.

SJ: everyone and everything in its place. Demand things get done in a way they deem proper.

NT: consistently rational in their actions. They have a reason for everything they do. Abstract, theoretical, intellectual, logical, technical, but NOT intuitive. They are research-oriented.

SP: Do what is effective to get what they want. Adaptable, artistic, athletic, aware of reality, on the lookout for workable situations.

As I continue researching, I’ll post more thorough summaries of each type that should help you narrow it down further. For now, think about their speech pattern and how they would try to get things done. That should at least leave you somewhere to start. First on the list, SP’s (the Artisans).

Keep writing, Lovelies

Moran

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