The Healer and the Pirate

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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Personality types and writing

OK, busy night tonight, so I'll make this short!

Have you ever done a Myers-Briggs or similar personality test? I usually come out as an INTP when I do the test for myself. Some of my traits (indecision; difficulty following through without deadlines) can make writing tricky.

This page gives a rundown of the types. Here is a free test you can try.

To be honest, the test results can almost read like horoscopes, in that you can probably find something that pertains to you and something that doesn't. (In fact, I understand some Christians don't believe in personality tests at all, thinking they're too similar to horoscopes/etc.!) But I don't think the personality tests are wicked.

Though actually, once I realized that two people I knew--same gender, similar body structure--had similar traits, and got this idea of Satan having a HUGE list of personality types--far beyond the 16 Myers-Briggs types--that let him target everyone by their type's weakness. Whereas God sees us as individuals!

I do think it is fun to type characters. Aridin, male lead in "The Healer and the Pirate," tests as an ESFJ. What does that mean?

SUPER shorthand based on my reading and experience--serious students can actually figure out the way the different types interact.

E - Extroverted (50% of people)
I - Introverted (50% of people)
S - Sensor - Grounded in the physical world (65% of people)
N - Intuitive - Grounded in ideas (35% of people) - By the way, someone who is extremely messy is quite likely to be a "N" type. Yo.
T - Thinker - Ruled by logic (65% of men; 35% of women)
F - Feeler - Ruled by feelings (35% of women; 65% of men)
J - Judge - Makes decisions easily (50% of people if I recall correctly)
P - Perceiver - Has a hard time making decisions (50% of people if I recall correctly)

So Aridin is a pirate, that shouldn't be terribly surprising. Sensor sounds right for him; a pirate who's not very aware of his or her surroundings may not make it so long. I frankly have some trouble understanding the Judge/Perceiver one in general, but Aridin is quick to act and certainly "judges."

Feeler is the unusual one for a man. People think that women are the emotional ones and men are the unemotional ones. I think the 65%/35% idea is about right, personally. The majority of women are more emotional than the majority of men, but there's a big continuum. I actually am not very emotional, or good in social situations. (And it can be tricky to be a woman who's not emotionally sensitive!) I imagine it can also be hard to be an emotional man. Though I think men have more outlets for their emotions than some people give them credit for. (Like those guys who are so caught up in sports they come close to crying over sporting events!)

Of course, I think romance novels generally have the heroes being more emotional/sensitive than most men are...and I know someone who noted her husband is a "feeler" and it can cause some problems! But Aridin is just a very passionate person. And if you believe the scientists, 35% of men ARE "Feelers." I think there is room for all personality types, regardless of genders, in fiction (romance and not!)...and in life, too!

(Or at least, this Thinker woman hopes there is. :) )

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