Sunday, August 7, 2011

Personality Tests for Character Development?




Character development has always been difficult.  If readers cannot fall in love with, feel empathy for, identify with or, on the other hand, hate, be repulsed by, or fear your characters there is little investment for finishing your work. Who couldn’t identify with Harry, Ron and Hermione? I the strength of their personalities that attract readers young and old, male and female, from all socioeconomic groups and all ethnicities. 

One of the best tools for creating interesting, believable and multi dimensional characters is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).  Taking the time to learn how to effectively use this tool can be invaluable. 

Do you want your character to have an “out there” personality or one that is more introspective and reserved?  Do you want him to be an idea man or the realistic, this is the way it is kind of guy?  Is your heroine the strong, no nonsense, take charge type like J. D. Robb’s character Eve Dallas or more stereotypical female?  Do you want a character that is goal oriented, time sensitive and orderly or more fly by the seat of the pants, flexible and spontaneous? 

When you have an understanding of personality type and how it influences everything from how a person socializes to how she makes decisions, the possibilities for creating believable, intriguing characters that readers want to get to know are endless.

So check out www.capt.org, or www.personalitypage.com, contact a local mental health professional, or go to the library. 
First learn about yourself, then apply that knowledge to your characters.   

Good Luck!

By: Dr. Anita Tieman

Dr. Tieman worked with Martha Swirzinski to write 3 children's books.  Check them out at  





2 comments:

  1. Anita, thanks for an interesting post. I've researched Myers-Briggs, and have taken the test a couple of times myself, but never considered using it for character development.

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  2. Great post. I've never even heard of the Myers-Briggs tool. Thanks for the information and link!

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