An Introduction to Characters: MBTI

Update: If you’re here to find your personality type, welcome! Download the quiz or answer the questions at the bottom of this post. You might find that on other quizzes, you will more frequently get E over I, S over N, T if you’re male or F if you’re female, and J over P. Each of us has each quality! The point of MBTI is to discover what you’re like when left to your own devices. If you were apart from all cultural norms, would you still test the same? I hope these simple questions can help bring clarity to each dichotomy.

Welcome to the new CHARACTER series on writelarawrite! I’ve created a new tab on the Navigation Menu under “Fiction”—all the future character posts will turn up there (as well as on the main blog).

I’m sure I’ll update on the 8 C’s of Plotting every once in a while, but it’s nice to take a break from plotting and focus on what is actually the most important part of a story!

You can plot all you want, but if the plot is you-driven and not character-driven, people aren’t going to want to read your stuff. I started my blog with plotting because that’s the big difference between short fiction (what I’m used to) and novels (what I’m new to). With a short story, I can get away with writing and seeing where the characters take me. I started writing my novel a couple of years ago during NaNoWriMo and it ended up looking like a summary or beat-sheet. Novels have twists and turns and subplots…they are just a lot longer and more complex than a short story, so they require a bit more foresight if you aren’t used to writing that much.

Anyway, back to CHARACTERS.

I’m going to be giving you a ton of print-out worksheets in the following weeks so you can make a character binder, or just so you can have them as a reference for digital notecards (I use Evernote!)

To start off, I’m giving you a little flowchart I created to help you determine your characters’ Myers-Briggs type. Remember last post (Wednesday)? I gave you sites like my fellow WordPress Blogger Tim on Which MBTI Type… and MBTI Types on Tumblr

You can check those out for more information on the different combinations (there are 16!). To find out more about the difference between introversion and extraversion, sensing and intuition, thinking and feeling, and judging and perceiving, check out the official site here and a pretty comprehensive guide here. If you still have questions or confusion after reading those, feel free to ask me in the comments!

Want the text-only version of the quiz? Find it below the break.

I made up three different designs for you to choose from. Click the images to download your worksheets. Each option is four pages and is ready to print (if you want).

Design 1: Basic

Answer each of the questions, using the colored paths as your guide. The colored paths calculate your score for you.

Design 2: Prism

Same concept as above, just a bit sexier.

Design 3: Tally

Here’s a scoring system I came up with that uses colors instead of counting. Just something different.

Share and share alike, just remember to link back here if you mention them on your blog!

Next week, come back to go a little deeper into eight divisions of the MBTI types.


Want all the questions without the download? Here’s my quiz. Please do not copy—link back here instead.

Text-Only Version

E or I?

1. Which makes you more uncomfortable: being left alone or making small talk with strangers?
2. Would you rather be somewhat skilled in many areas (a renaissance person), or extremely skilled in one area (an expert)?
3. Which is more important: your reputation or your identity?

GENERALLY Extraverts (E) are more uncomfortable being left alone than introverts, they like to have many interests rather than focus on one in particular, and their reputation is a part of their identity. Introverts (I) tend to find small talk with strangers to be draining, they prefer depth of knowledge to span of knowledge, and they tend to care less about what others think of them.

S or N?

1. Do you spend more time enjoying the present or discussing the future?
2. You’re making a new recipe you’ve never tried before. Do you measure out the ingredients and follow all the steps, or do you eyeball measurements and try to put your own spin on things?
3. Would you rather take a class in lab science or philosophy?

Generalizations: “S” types are more concerned with the physical world—what they can see, taste, touch, or smell. They prefer nonfiction or stories based on true events. “N” types are more concerned with making abstract connections. They prefer fiction or more fantastical genres. If you’re obsessed with personality quizzes, you’re more likely an “N.” 🙂 “S” types tend to prefer living in the here and now, they are good at following directions, and they like working with their hands or making observations. “N” types spend more time thinking of future possibilities, they are more likely to question directions or ignore them, and they would rather exercise their minds than their bodies.

T or F?

1. You see a friend’s young son holding his elbow and crying. What’s the first thing you ask him?
2. Think of your favorite piece of furniture. Why is it your favorite?
3. Your head and your heart disagree. Which has the final say?

Generalizations: “T” types would want to know what happened—how the boy got hurt. “F” types would first ask if the child was all right.
“T” types are more concerned with the function of furniture, what purpose it serves, what features it has. “F” types are more concerned with the form, how it looks or how it feels to use it.
“T” types are more likely to follow their head. They’d rather be logical than sentimental. “F” types would choose what feels best for them or what would make the most people happy.

J or P?

1. When you plan a vacation, which is more important: the destination, or the journey?
2. Which do you value more: closure and stability or openness and flexibility?
3. You’re planning a party for new friends. Do you make a menu, or make it a potluck?

Generalizations: In the workplace, “J” types are goal-oriented problem solvers. They are efficient. “P” types are more likely to be considered indecisive because they take time to explore all options before making an effective decision. In leisure time, “J” types are more likely to plan their activities, while “P” types are more likely to chose activities that allow them to stay flexible. A party planned by a “J” type might have organized activities, timed events, and seating arrangements. A party planned by a “P” type might be an open house, a potluck, or a BYOB bonfire.

6 thoughts on “An Introduction to Characters: MBTI

  1. tatl33 says:

    I love this blog very much, and obviously I love this blog entry since it relates to my blog whichmbtitype… 😉
    As somebody who is interested in writing, I can not stress enough how helpful this is for me and for anyone else looking to get into writing to use this character guide- I further developed some of my characters from using this blog entry, and have used many other blog entries to help develop stories as well. Keep it up, I’ve followed you and am looking forward to your future entries, particularly the characters ones. 🙂

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