*Knowing* My Characters

I’ve been studying personality theory (Especially the Myers-Briggs expression) for several months. Tonight I applied the four perimeters to the eight most prominent characters in my Lindorm novel, and this is what I came up with:
Linnea          ESFJ
Kennett       INTP
Tykone        INFP
Runa            INTJ
Ivan             ISTP
Torbjorn      ESTJ
Cecillia        ISFJ
Irene           ESTP

I determined/identified the types by going through each parameter for every character (Does Linnea gather more energy from being alone with her thoughts or being with other people? What about Kennett? Tykone?).

Comparing them one parameter at a time helped me focus on what they were, rather than what I wanted them to be. I tried to base my judgment on the characters’ behavior as much as possible, but the exercise was especially useful for the characters I had too deep in my head.

I have been concerned that Runa is more interesting than Linnea, who’s supposed to be the main character.  *Surprise* (or not) Runa has my personality type so I “get” the way her brain works. Being able to look as clearly at Linnea– her similarities and differences compared to my type– is very helpful.

The main reason this discovery is so exciting to me is that reading the profiles for each character did two things for me.

  • It affirmed how consistently I’ve written (most of) these characters, both in action and motivation, even before having this clarity.
    • Makes me feel like I have some aptitude toward this thing I love to do.
  • It was a delight to imagine my created characters were *known*.  That’s exactly him! or, So this is why that response always felt right happened over and over as I read through the profiles.

Kennett, the elder of the twin princes, has no interest in being king, and one descriptor of his “type” is the loner element, that this type “isn’t interested in leading or being led.” The coldness of his type makes the device of the mind/emotion-reading-by-touch (it’s okay, I don’t expect you to know what I’m talking about if you haven’t read the story) especially delicious. It facilitates a closer relationship than would have been possible without the magical connection.

Linnea’s personality type explains why she’s so shaken by her stepmother’s emotional abuse and and almost equally by her stepsister’s indifference. It shows how she could be cowed by her stepmother’s words not even a day after standing up to the stranger unearthing her father’s coffin.

It makes me almost ready to keep my original scene order (that is, the one from October). I’ll have to look at it seriously before I’ll know for sure.

I could never say before why I felt Linnea’s behavior wasn’t inconsistent (it sure looked that way– that’s why I started shuffling scene order). Now that I understand the why, I hope to more clearly show that. It should make a number of things a lot easier to juggle.

Nailing Linnea’s type also showed me where to build her flaws– namely in manipulation. Not sure yet how that’s gonna look.

Maybe I’ve found a new formula:

Four parameters = Instant depth. ;)

4 thoughts on “*Knowing* My Characters

  1. I am almost positive Irene is ENTJ. No, not almost. AM positive.

    I have never known a ENTP to be cruel. They are too fun-loving. ENTJs on the other hand are capable of holding their own opinions over others, even if hurting others in the process. They lack empathy. Plus Irene plans and schemes too much to be a P. Definitely a J.

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