Concrete Detail

Erika Hayes, Author – Write like a reader, read like a writer and edit like a beast!


When I begin a story, I have to start with a character.  Then something happens to my character.  What happens next is very important.  HOW will my character reacts to the situation I have placed him or her in.  Knowing how your characters react to situations is very important to a successful story.

I took a class in college several years ago, The Art of Storytelling.  Yes, that is a real class and probably one of the best classes I attended.  In this class, we learned how to best use our strengths when telling oral stories.  One of the things the professor introduced me to the way the Myers-Briggs Personality Test.  I was not surprised when I found out I was INTJ.  Well, not after I read what it meant to be an INTJ.

After taking the test I became very interested in the traits of each of the personality types.  I have learned to use the different types of personalities to predict ways my characters may react in some situations.  Or even more, how to make them act, unlike their natural personality bend.   Let’s face it if all your characters act like your personality it will be a boring book.  The hard part is better understanding how an ENFJ acts if you are not one.

Enter   While I was developing one of my supporting characters to my antagonist I needed to understand how this woman would allow the antagonist to essentially use her.  I turned to the information on this site to help me better grasp who she was.  It was very helpful in further developing the reactions she toward others when confronted about her involvement with the antagonist.

Take some time to dig into personality types.  When I create characters, one of the first things I do is a Myers-Brigg test on them.  I want to have diverse characters in my book.  Using personality types can help you as a writer develop a well-rounded character that will connect with your readers.  Sixteen personality types, that is a lot of material.   I have spent time on several personality sites but find that 16personalities stand out from the others.  They offer many opportunities on their site that can better your writing and yourself.  I also like that they have “named” the types like INTJ is called the Architect.  This allows a writer to take a quick glance and determine how they can see the character they are building.

You don’t have to stay in the types, but the truth is understanding how a personality type reacts normally helps to make your characters believable.

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