Using Personality Type Theory to Develop Fictional Characters

index boxIn her 1929 novel Murder Yet to Come, Isabel Briggs Myers used her knowledge of personality type in creating her fictional characters. The novel won the national Detective Murder Mystery Contest, beating out a work by Ellery Queen. Her success suggests that personality type theory can add depth to fiction and help authors develop more believable characters. But doesn’t the author also risk stereotyping characters? What’s the best way to use personality type in writing fiction?

F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote, “Begin with an individual, and before you know it you find that you have created a type; begin with a type, and you find that you have created—nothing.” In my experience, starting with a personality type in mind is the hardest way to create a character. It limits you. You end up making choices based on personality type rather than story. A novel is an organic thing. If you don’t let it evolve naturally, it will never breathe.


The ENTP Writing Personality: Energetic Innovation

Obedience hardly ever begets innovation.
—Neil deGrasse Tyson

Can learning about personality type help you make the most of your natural writing style?

ENTP writers enjoy the pre-writing stage. They may come up with many good ideas quickly. Often skilled at detecting patterns and envisioning outcomes, they trust their insight and resist prescribed methods. The writing process itself may prove tedious to them, but if they persevere, their work is often  thorough and multifaceted.

The ENTP personality type is one of 16 identified by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, a popular psychometric instrument used to determine how people prefer to gather information and make decisions. The initials ENTP indicate the following: Continue reading “The ENTP Writing Personality: Energetic Innovation”