ADDING PERSONALITY TO YOUR CHARACTERS
Lately, I’ve been talking more and more about developing characters in novels.
As I’ve mentioned, I use several reference books to choose various characteristics for the people I invent for my stories.
Today, I’ll be talking about Please Understand Me by David Keirsey and Marilyn Bates.
It describes the assessment of personality types which was first introduced by Carl Jung then later expanded by Isabel Briggs Myers and Peter Myers in Gifts Differing.
In addition to using them as a reference for developing fictional characters, I’ve used these books in classes I’ve taught to determine the best way to interact with my students and in my personal life to understand myself, my family and friends and get a better perspective on interpersonal relationships.
A brief overview of the Myers-Briggs type indicator is as follows:
There are eight classifications of personality type based on how an individual prefers to:
interact with the world [Extrovert (E)/Introvert (I)]
make judgments and decisions [Thinking (T)/Feeling (F)]
perceive the world [Senses (S) /Intuition (N)]
deal with the world [Judgement (J)/Perception (P)]
Please Understand Me describes all the temperament/personality types listed above then shows how the sixteen combinations of these types manifest in a persons personality.
ESTJ. ESTP, ESFJ, ESFP, ENTJ, ENTP, ENFJ, ENFP
ISTJ. ISTP, ISFJ, ISFP, INTJ, INTP, INFJ, INFP
ENFJs tend to be charasmatic leaders (salespeople, ad execs, politicians)
INFJs tend to be involved in interpersonal relations (therapists, social workers)
ENFPs tend to be motivators (elementary teachers)
INFPs tend to be crusaders (activists)
ENTJs tend to be structured leaders (military, law enforcement)
INTJs tend to be innovators (engineers, scientists)
ENTPs tend to be improvisors (original thinkers outside of the box)
INTPs tend to be designers (architects, philosophers, scientists, mathematicians)
ESFJs are the caretakers of people (ministers, teachers, coaches, nurses)
ISFJs tend to be caretakers of ideas (librarians, historians)
ESTJs tend to be evaluators and traditionalists (lawyers, judges, college professors)
ISTJs are the analyzers and detailers (accountants, librarians)
ESFPs are the performers (actors, musical performers, comics)
ISFPs tend to be artists (composers, writers, visual artists)
ESTPs tend to make things happen (entrepreneurs, fund raisers)
ISTPs tend to be artisans (crafts people)
Please Understand Me also shows the way the various personality types interact with each other as lovers/spouses, parent/child, employer/employee.
An added bonus to the book is the detailed test one can take to determine where he/she fits in the temperament types.
Posted on October 17, 2011, in Book Recommendations, Family and Friends, Writing, Writing Exercises and tagged creative writing david keirsey, developing fictional characters, family, fiction writing, gift differing, interpersonal relations, Isabel Briggs, Linda Goodman Sun Signs, marilyn bates, myers briggs, personality types, peter meyers, please understand me, sharon k owen, sharonkowen, teaching. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.