Friday, October 12, 2012

Personality Types: Celebrities and Forums

by Jill Williamson

On Tuesday I talked about labeling your characters. I had labeled my Captives character Mason as an analyst. And I sometimes compared him in my mind to Mr. Spock from Star Trek or Sheldon Cooper of The Big Bang Theory to help me write his analytical side. These comparisons also helped me identify Mason's true Myers Briggs personality type. I had thought he was one type, but after this exercise, I came to learn that Mason is an INTJ.

Here's the thing. I'm not an INTJ. I'm a fairly logical person, but I'm big on feelings. Maybe it's my being a girl. Who knows. One thing I knew as I worked through the last rewrite of Captives: I was not doing a grand job at writing an INTJ. These guys are smarter than Einstein! (Einstein was considered to be an INTP, by the way.)

Besides thinking of Mr. Spock and Sheldon Cooper as I wrote Mason, two other things helped me immensely.

Isaac Newton: INTJ

Susie May Warren suggested figuring out what celebrities had the same personality as Mason, and when I got home, I found this amazing site. It lists famous people under personality type. So I was able to look up Mason's personality type and see others like him. Not only did that give me more people to compare him to, it gave me quotes. Words spoken by these highly intellectual people. I was so excited. I copied down many of the quotes and studied them, knowing that Mason might have similar thoughts about himself and the world. Check out the other INTJs out there like Mr. Spock and Sheldon Cooper and Mason:

2. I Googled INTJ forums. 

Unlike Mr. Spock and Sheldon Cooper, Mason is attracted to women. So I had a good time Googling things like: "How do you know if an INTJ likes you." This was a lot of fun. Mason also has faith in God, which is not popular among INTJs, so I Googled "Argument for INTJ and Christianity." Now that was some amusing reading. INTJs love to debate. For fun! And reading words that real INTJ people wrote really helped me find Mason's voice. And it was a hoot.

Both these exercises gave me much stronger visual examples than reading the Myers Briggs sites and books ever did. I found it super helpful.

Check out some of those links and tell me what you think. How might knowing some celebrity matches in your character's personality type help you as you write?


  1. That's such a neat idea! I never thought about looking to see what other people of the same personality are like. I've just recently been trying to figure out the Meyer-Briggs personalities of my characters. This is really helpful! Thank you so much!

  2. WOW! That is such an awesome idea! I will definitely be trying that...thanks so much!!

  3. This is really cool!!!

  4. ohmigosh I just love stuff like this. I did this for my character I mentioned before :D

  5. omg!I love those personality quiz thingys but I never thought to do them for my characters. That's so cool, I'll definitely be doing it for every character I create now :)
    (btw, this one is really good)

  6. Hahaha! Awesome! This is so cool, Jill! I love your Google searches. ;)

  7. Glad it was helpful, guys. I love Google too. I wonder what a challenge it would be for me to write a book if I time traveled back before computers and typewriters and had to hand write the thing. Ug.

  8. Hey, I'm an INTJ, too! :D So I'll definitely have to check out Mason's story. I love personality tests for characters--they help you understand aspects of your character that you never knew before, but they also ask you questions that you wouldn't have thought of just sitting down and writing. So not only are the results helpful, but the act of answering those question is a good way to make decisions. :)

    Thanks for the post!

  9. This site is awesome! I loved reading the quotes the people wrote, too... CS Lewis was like me! I love CS Lewis. :)

    1. Emii, I knew I liked you. :) Lewis rocks.

  10. I had never really thought about my characters with these kind of personality types (is it really bad that I hardly knew ANY of the abreviations?) I can see how it can really help though! Thank you for the incredible insight!

  11. Hilariously awesome, Jill. I recently found out I'm not an INTJ like I thought I was. I had to take the Myers-Briggs for a class I'm taking this semester. Lo and behold, INFJ fits me better. Although two out of three when I was guess-timating my own type is pretty good. :)

    Newton! Go figure!

  12. Finding out a character's Myers Briggs is so helpful when I'm starting out and can't figure out their voice! And then going to that site and seeing how real people like that think! Thanks Jill!

  13. I think I might just try to find out my character's personality types now, Jill. Might be just what I need to wrap my mind around who they are better and in a deeper manner. Oh, and my boyfriend is a STRONG INTJ and a Christian. I tell ya what, INTJ's are SUPER SMART and they are EXTREMELY HARD to figure out, mostly because they are such BIG THINKERS. But I just so happen to love my very smart and hard-to-read guy. ;-)

  14. From Amo Libros:
    I had no idea you could Google things this specific. What would we do without Google? I mean, how would you even research a question like that without it? ...This could pose some interesting historical fiction questions...
    I have GOT to do the Meyer-Briggs thing for some of my characters. My two main ones in particular feel rather flat, and it's been irking me. Perhaps if I had a better idea of who they were they wouldn't feel so much like cardboard cut-outs.