I frequently use PersonalityPage.com to assemble personality traits for characterization. The site is not organized for writers. In fact, the site navigation is poorly designed and pretty difficult to figure out. I had to poke around the site a bit to find the best pages there for characterization and how to use them. But having done so, I discovered that the content on those pages is perfect for writers trying to create characters.
The Personality Page revolves around Myers-Briggs typology, which numerous professionals have criticized as unscientific. The Myers-Briggs personality test, it is said, basically just asks people what kind of personality they think they have and then regurgitates it back to them in a handy, scientific-sounding summary. But this weakness is one of its strengths for the storyteller. Because we are not interested in psychoanalyzing real people. And we are not interested in compiling accurate statistics, or with scientific authenticity. We only want to create convincing, fictional characters out of our imaginations. So we merely need to understand personality traits that are out there, and Myers-Briggs does help us do that.
A Writer’s Site-map to PersonalityPage.com
The following overview pages can help you understand the theory behind Myers-Briggs and determine which personality types would be most appropriate for your character.
- Myers-Briggs Personality Typology – A brief history, and a summary of the theory.
- The 4 Preferences – A summary of the 4 independent preference continuums used in Myers-Briggs: extraverted-introverted, sensing-intuiting, thinking-feeling, and judging-perceiving.
- The 16 Personality Types – A brief summary of each of the 16 personality types (4 preferences, each with 2 independent possibilities), each with a link to a personality profile.
- The 4 Temperaments – The four temperament groupings that David Keirsey developed, each containing 4 personality types.
- Personality Development from Childhood through Adulthood
- Personality Type Demographics
- Personality Type and Political Affiliation
Personality Profile Source Material
Once you have one or more personality types in mind, use the following pages to construct a character profile. Your character profile should not just include verbatim everything associated with that personality type. Rather, you should pick and choose characteristics (from multiple overlapping profiles) that reflect the personality of your character.
- Personality Profiles
- Career and Personality Type
- Relationships and Personality Type
- Personal Growth and Personality Type
A personality profile will not get you a deep character. My current process starts with a personality profile, then I flesh out the character with his history, his relationships, his challenges, his ambitions, his fears, his beliefs, and so forth. Of course, then I have to actually tell this character’s story, which is for me the hardest part of the process.