Words to Describe Your Characters: The NFs

woman reading a book on a park benchCPP Blog Central has posted a series on words associated with each MBTI personality type. If you’re an author, and you know your characters’ MBTI types, these articles are a great resource to generate ideas on how to describe them. Or, if you don’t know the character’s type, these lists might help you figure it out!

The NF types (Idealists) share several words in common, such as creative, compassionate, and caring. For more specific descriptions for each type, check out each individual article:

Are there any words you would add to these lists to describe the types?

Here’s Why You’re Still Single Based On Your Myers-Briggs Personality Type

AndreaJWenger:

These are just for fun, but if you write fiction with a love plot or subplot, they might help generate some ideas.

The full article is available at the following link:
http://thoughtcatalog.com/heidi-priebe/2015/03/heres-why-youre-still-single-based-on-your-myers-briggs-personality-type/

Originally posted on Thought Catalog:

ESFJ

You’re single because: You have a savior complex and keep going for wounded people who can’t properly love you back.

You’ll get into a relationship when: You’re finally attracted to someone who has his or her shit together and doesn’t need to be bullied into a relationship.

ESTP

You’re single because: You’re having way too much fun sleeping around.

You’ll get into a relationship when: You start feeling bad about how long your ISFJ hookup has been doing your laundry for you, at which point you’ll finally ask them out.

ENTJ

You’re single because: You have impossibly high standards and you’d probably just marry yourself if it were legal.

You’ll get into a relationship when: You decide that it is practical to do so, at which point you will assess potential suitors for mate value and propose to the most logical subject.

ENFJ

You’re single because: You smothered the…

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Here Is What Happens When Each Myers-Briggs Personality Type Makes A New Year’s Resolution

AndreaJWenger:

This is 100% accurate—for me, at least (INFJ). Happy New Year!
(Note: The URL for the article has changed.)

Originally posted on Thought Catalog:

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Click here to discover your personality type, then leave your resolution in the comments!

ENFP

“I resolve to make less than thirty new years resolutions this year, and keep at least two of them.”

Outcome: Stays up for fourteen straight days in an attempt to complete first resolution and subsequently ends up creating fifteen more.

ISTJ

“I resolve to be less regimented and spend more time relaxing.”

Outcome: Schedules relaxation between 3:15 and 3:42pm each afternoon, during which time they create detailed lists of how they will relax on following days.

ESFP

“I resolve to party less… On weeknights… Before 5pm.”

Outcome: Drunkenly announces their resolution to five hundred of their closest friend on Thursday January 1st, at the bar, at 4pm.

ENTJ

“I resolve to screw over marginally less of my colleagues as I fearlessly charge towards success.”

Outcome: Keeps a detailed chart of co-workers they are not…

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Deep Characterization Using the Myers-Briggs Personality Types

RWA-WF logoWould you like to learn about using the Myers-Briggs personality types for creating fictional characters? I’m offering an online workshop November 30 – December 14, 2014. The workshop is offered through the Women’s Fiction chapter of the Romance Writers of America. It’s free for members and just $20 for nonmembers.

Workshop Description

While plot may keep an audience on the edge of their chairs, it’s the characters that make readers fall in love with a story. The better you know your characters, the more depth you can reveal, creating a bond with readers that lasts even after the book ends.

In this course, the instructor will challenge you to apply the principles of the Myers-Briggs personality types to deepen the character development in your work-in-progress (WIP). She will explain the four scales used by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI) to assess personality, and how those scales combine to form sixteen personality types.

For instance, is your character an introvert or extrovert? Is she a stickler for details, or does she prefer to look at the big picture? Does she consider logic or people first when making a decision? Does she like to plan out her day, or follow opportunities as they arise?

The instructor will show how you can apply knowledge of the sixteen personality types when developing characters: their strengths, their blind spots, and the potential for conflict with other types. Using a combination of theory and exercises, this fun and interactive class will give you yet another tool for bringing your characters to life.

Registration

Registration is through Eventbrite (https://rwa-wf-2014-12.eventbrite.com/). After you sign up, you’ll receive an invitation to the Yahoo Group where the class will be held. I hope you can join me!

Words | Dunning Personality Type Experts

INFPs have a special relationship with words. INFPs focus not only on the meaning of words but also the feelings they create. In this blog post, Paul Dunning explains his love for words. — A.J.W.

INFP Reflections

By Paul Dunning

After reading Tolkien’s quote – “I often long to work at my nonsense fairy language and don’t let myself ’cause though I love it so it does seem such a mad hobby!” – in my previous blog, I started to wonder if other INFPs have the same affiliation with words.

From an early age I have thought about their genesis, speculating that a word like “ugly” came about because it is a natural verbal response to something unpleasant to see.

Words can be a lot of fun. It seems Tolkien loved the creativity of word play. As an INFP, one of my fascinations is with the feelings certain words emote when spoken that go beyond their intended meaning.

“Cantankerous” jumps out at you, laden with emphasis, each syllable a heavy footstep on the floor.

“Theme” seems to stick to the roof of your mouth, like a spoonful of verbal peanut butter.

“Auspicious” sounds as if it can’t contain its meaning, spilling hope in all directions.

This may not be an INFP thing at all, but I wonder. Our dominant function of Introverted Feeling focuses us on inwardly evaluating ideas according to our values. And words are ideas, so by playing with words we refine our tools to communicate. And that can be fun.

What is your relationship with words?

via Words | Dunning Personality Type Experts.

Know Your Audience: Emotional Resonance in Fiction

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe first rule of technical communication is know your audience. In fact, this is the first rule of all effective communication. Yet in other fields, writers may not realize it.

Beginning novelists have a lot to learn about craft: showing not telling, the three-act structure, developing characters, crafting  effective dialogue, using sensory detail to immerse the reader in the scene. Yet even if all these elements are in place, the novel can still fall flat.

When I rate a novel on the Goodreads, Amazon, or Barnes and Noble websites, the difference between a 4-star and a 5-star review is often emotional resonance. In short, how happy or uplifted or moved do I feel at the end of the novel?

In fiction, knowing your reader goes deeper than simply understanding the expectations of your genre. What do readers want from the experience of reading fiction? In a post on Writer Unboxed, Lisa Cron, author of Wired for Story, explains it this way:

Story is an internal brain-to-brain, emotion-driven expedition…about how the plot affects the protagonist. The good news is that protagonists are people. Just like you and me. They live and breathe and make decisions the same way we do. The bad news is that writers often tend to leave this crucial layer out, giving us only a beautifully written rendition of the story’s external shell – the plot, the surface, the “things that happen” — rather than what’s beneath the surface, where the real meaning lies.

The story is in how we decide to do things, not simply in the things we do.

As an author, your goal is to create a fictive dream and immerse readers into it. At the same, you must lead readers (baby ducks, as Heidi Cullinan calls them) down the path you want them to go, focusing their attention on things that matter, downplaying things that are less important, and imprinting them on the characters they’re supposed to sympathize with.

For instance, you don’t want your minor characters to be cardboard cutouts, but you don’t want them to be fully realized, either. At a meeting with the Heart of Carolina Romance Writers, Sue Winegardner of Entangled Publishing talked about seeing submissions for YA novels where the main characters are well-developed but the minor characters are stereotypes like “mean girl” and “nerd.” Even walk-on characters should have some trait that makes them real. When a barrista hands your protagonist a cup of coffee, the protagonist could notice the barrista’s chipped nail polish and silver bangle bracelets. This gives life to the story. But you don’t want the protagonist to overhear the barrista talking to a co-worker about how her mother is having a double mastectomy the next day, when you have no plans to go anywhere with that story element. A glimpse into the emotional life of a walk-on character leads readers to imprint on the character, and creates the expectation that the character is somehow important to the story.

Similarly, the antagonist should not be a villain with no redeeming characteristics, yet you don’t want to create too much sympathy him. During the final battle, readers should be rooting for the main character (even if they hope the antagonist can be redeemed). Otherwise, the ending will be unsatisfying, and they’ll be less likely to buy your next novel.

Balancing reader empathy among your cast of characters is essential if you want your stories to linger after the reader has finished the book. Yet it’s difficult for authors to judge this quality on their own. Ask your critique partners and beta readers for feedback in this area. Tweak as needed until your most trusted readers agree you’ve given them the satisfying story they crave.

Perceiving Writers: Pushing the Limits

image of a telescopeWriters with a preference for perception approach a subject from different angles. With their drive to explore, they don’t want to wrap up a project until forced to by the pressure of a deadline. Without that pressure, they can meander endlessly, failing to complete projects and collect the rewards of their hard work. How can perceiving writers honor their curiosity while producing results?

In an earlier post, I wrote about the importance of following your natural tendencies when writing a first draft. Then, during the editing process, you can go back and fill in the elements you missed.

Natural tendencies of perceiving writers

Those who prefer perception are inquisitive and spontaneous. Seizing opportunities as they arise, these writers like to experiment and discover solutions through serendipity.

Perceiving types are flexible and like to improvise. Decisions are postponed until the last minute in case new information comes to light. These types don’t mind uncertainty, and they’re not thrown off-balance by the unexpected, as judging types often are.

Deadlines don’t loom over perceiving types. They’re certain they’ll finish on time, even if they don’t know how.

These writers mull over their topic and conduct research before writing. They explore the subject thoroughly so they don’t miss anything. Their first drafts tend to be wide-ranging and somewhat disorganized.

Perceiving types work in spurts toward their final goal, following ideas as they occur. Interim milestones aren’t useful, because these types change their focus as new information arises. Since deadline pressure motivates them to complete a project, they work right up until the last moment.

As they mature, perceiving writers become more decisive and organized while retaining their curiosity and openness. They learn to trust their need to explore a topic thoroughly and their ability to pull it all together at the last minute.

Filling the gaps

If you’re a perceiving writer, verify the time requirements for completing the job. Work backward from the deadline to determine when you have to start. Ensure that all the resources you need are in place so you don’t get into a bind.

Test your assumptions about the scope of the work (for instance, make sure the photos in your source material are print-quality).  To avoid a time crunch at the end, set goals to measure progress.  Establish a cut-off point for conducting research so you have enough time to write.

After the first draft, narrow the subject. Identify and cut any extraneous information. If it’s not relevant to the reader’s immediate task or goal, move the information to an appendix or delete it.

Even if you don’t write an outline, develop an organizing framework. Present the material in a focused way. At the end of the project, be judicious about making last-minute changes. Consider the impact on other team members. Avoid risking the deadline.

If you’re feeling blocked, learn to say no. Don’t over-commit, and don’t work on so many projects at once that you’re not able to finish any of them. That energy boost you get as a deadline approaches won’t make up for a lack of sleep. Take care of yourself so you can put your best into your projects.