I just did some Myers Briggs tests for some of my characters and boy don’t they make sense. I’ve been wanting to do this for a while but I was always afraid that I didn’t know my characters as well as I thought I did and because I didn’t know them as well as I did I wouldn’t get the right results.
I’m happy to say that I received results that were not surprising, but rather satisfactory. Doing these tests also helped me distinguish different behaviors among my characters which is a great relief. Sometimes it’s difficult to say tell what a character will do in a specific situation and that confusion is likely due to a misunderstanding of your character’s personality.
Sometimes when I read stories of beginning writers they tend to be a bit shaky on the character personality part. Their character may do one thing, but later in the story the writer forgets about their past actions and…well, the character does something that seems “out of character.” Not only is this confusing to the reader, but it also prevents readers from understanding the character’s motives or understanding who they really are as a character. Now, having a character who is naturally unpredictable is a different story (but would probably still be frustrating as a protagonist).
There are 16 personality types according to Myers-Briggs, and each one has 4 letters. Yes, each letter means something. For example, my personality type is INTJ. This means that I am an introvert (I), I rely on my intuition(N), when making decisions I am more likely to make them based on logic rather than emotion(T), and I love control and decision in my life (J). Many villains are INTJs but that’s beside the point. As you can probably guess, ESFP’s are the complete opposite of INTJs. They are extroverted (E), they are less intuitive and rely more on sensing (S), they rely on their emotions when making decisions (F) and they tend to be more spontaneous and don’t need anything decided before hand (P). Want to learn more? Look here.
An important to mention is that this is a theory. But they tend to work as a method for learning about your fictional characters (real people are a bit different). The other thing that’s nifty about this test and creating characters is the fact that you can create non one-sided characters in a flash. It’s also helpful if you are writing about characters who are twins (because they are very different despite what people say) and it could test your knowledge on how well you actually know your characters. At least it helps me. Want to try it? Take the test here.
Also as a side note if you get really into the test you can look up other fictional characters and what their personality type is like. I heard Black Widow could be an ISTP. Interesting, yeah?
Happy personality typing!