|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 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:
and here's one about the sixteen types:
Multiple-choice Myers-Briggs test:
A much simpler one where you just have to pick one in each of the four categories (includes descriptions):
Another, pretty simple test:
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).
EnneagramAn 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:
Chakras and enneagram information, easy to understand
Free enneagram test
The writing software below, has a free version available for download. It's loads of fun, but some features are disabled.
Character writer software