Personality Tests for your Characters

Samuel L. Jackson
Samuel L. Jackson (Photo credit: cliff1066™)



I'm not much for the long list of answers-type character creation. Not only does that kind of questionnaire give me the cold sweats, but also it doesn't help me 'see' my characters. I need my characters to move and talk.

So what do I do? I write small scenes for them, or 'watch' the scene unroll  like a mental movie. But personality tests seemed to be an interesting approach, something that might help me nail down my characters more quickly.


Myers-Briggs:

Myers-Briggs  has been around for some time, and at one point was a popular method of seeing whether or not you were likely to get along with your boss. Your Myers-Briggs type consists of four inependent axes. Your Myers-Briggs type is a four-letter code that spells out your place on each of the four axes:

E or I: Introverted or extraverted

N or S:  Intuition (N) or sensing(S) N's see the big picture and S's the details. N's are top-down thinkers and S's bottom up.

F or T: Feeling (F) or Thinking (T). Feelers make decisions with their hearts (think Captain Kirk) and T's with their heads (Mr. Spock).

J or P: Judging(J) or Perceiving(P):  J's enjoy routine and P's like surprises.

Here is a writeup of the eight preferences:
https://www.knowyourtype.com/8_preferences.html

and here's one about the sixteen types:
www.khttps://www.knowyourtype.com/16_types.html

Multiple-choice Myers-Briggs test:
http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/jtypes2.asp
A much simpler one where you just have to pick one in each of the four categories (includes descriptions):
http://www.personalitypathways.com/type_inventory.html

Another, pretty simple test:
http://www.teamtechnology.co.uk/mmdi/questionnaire/

Although I can get hung up on answering these types of tests for myself, I had no difficulty with the tests for my characters, and I gave some of the major characters in the science fiction novel I'm working on a couple of the tests.  Imarin was an ESTP.  I picture Imarin as played by Samuel L. Jackson (see photo above).

Enneagram

An Enneagram is pictured as a circle with intersecting lines, and a type consists of one of the nine types, a wing type, and a variant. I took an online course on Enneagrams and applying it to your character, and I did do a fair amount of reading about it.

In spite of lacking a real gut-level appreciation of the Enneagram types, I decided to try giving the free enneagram test below to the same characters, Imarin,  I mentionen above. He turned out to be a type 8 with a 7 wing, social variant. The description characterizes him pretty well.

Here's a description of the basic type 8:
http://www.eclecticenergies.com/enneagram/type8.php

Enneagram:

Official:
www.enneagraminstitute.com

Chakras and enneagram information, easy to understand
http://www.eclecticenergies.com/

www.9types.com/

Free enneagram test
http://www.eclecticenergies.com/enneagram/test.php

Another one
http://www.9types.com/rheti/index.php

The writing software below, has a free version available for download. It's loads of fun, but some features are disabled.

Character writer software
http://www.typingchimp.com/




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6 comments:

  1. Wow. I guess I need to do something like that more often, but I just have more fun winging it for my characters.

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  2. Thanks Margaret. What a great way to work on character development.

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  3. Some great, innovative ideas here Margaret. I hadn't come across Enneagrams before but I think they'll be very useful.

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  4. Wow, Margaret, that sounds a bit complicated for me. But I should learn it if I want more depth to my characters.

    Thanks for the tips. I'll be sure to study them.

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  5. Dear Margaret,
    Clever idea to use the pyschological tests for real human beings to figure out traits for your fictional characters. You are smart to look for ways to help you. Thanks for sharing them.

    Never Give Up
    Joan Y. Edwards

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