How To Use Myers Briggs for Fiction In 3 Easy Steps

Jackie Pearce
May 18, 2023 | 6 mins

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When it comes to developing and fleshing out characters, you will want to find ways to keep your characters consistent throughout your book.

You might have wondered how to use Myers Briggs for fiction and developing your characters. In order to do it, you need to understand what the Myers Briggs personality traits are and how you can use them.

In this article, we will dive into what it is, how the personality traits work, and how you can use that for inspiration for the characters in your stories.

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What Is The Myers Briggs?

The Myers Briggs Type Indicator is a test that helps people figure out their personality types. In this test, there are 16 different results you can have that determine what kind of personality you have.

It is one of the most widely used personality indicators in the world and is used by countless institutions and individuals to figure out their personalities.

Isabel Myers and Katherine Briggs, the founders of the test, looked to Carl Jung and his work around personalities as inspiration to create their test.

The goal was to create a test where people could understand themselves better so they could find positions, work, and opportunities that fit their personality style.

It is not a test where there is a “right’ or “wrong” answer, and instead it is an outline for how people operate in the world.

Authors use the test to help them navigate their book characters and the decisions they make.

The Basics of Myers Briggs

To start to understand the Myers Briggs personality traits, you need to understand what the letters represent.

The letters represent:

  • Introvert (I) or Extrovert (E)
  • Sensor (S) or Intuitive (N)
  • Feeler (F) or Thinker (T)
  • Judger (J) or Perceiver (P)

And a brief introduction to each of the personalities:

The Analysts:

  • INTJ: The Architect. Imaginative, strategic thinkers.
  • INTP: The Logician. Inventors with a thirst for knowledge.
  • ENTJ: The Commander. Bold, imaginative, and strong-willed leaders.
  • ENTP: The Debater. Thinkers who love an intellectual challenge.

The Diplomats:

  • INFJ: The Advocate. Inspiring, tireless idealists.
  • INFP: The Mediator. Poetic, kind people.
  • ENFJ: The Protagonist. Charismatic and inspiring leaders.
  • ENFP: The Campaigner. Enthusiastic, creative, and sociable free spirits.

The Sentinels:

  • ISTJ: The Logistician. Practical and fact-minded individuals.
  • ISFJ: The Defender. Dedicated, warm protectors.
  • ESTJ: The Executive. Excellent at managing things or people.
  • ESFJ: The Consul. Caring, social, and popular people who love to help.

The Explorers:

  • ISTP: The Virtuoso. Bold and practical experimenters.
  • ISFP: The Adventurer. Charming artists who are flexible and love to explore new things.
  • ESTP: The Entrepreneur. Energetic and perceptive people.
  • ESFP: The Entertainer. Energetic and enthusiastic people.

How To Use Myers Briggs for Fiction

Knowing that the Myers Briggs test is directly related to personality types, it is a good way to figure out some traits of the book characters you write.

If you start to go through some of the various personalities out there, you can find ones for your characters for them to emulate and use.

Picking a personality trait can help keep your characters consistent and in line with who they are and the decisions they make throughout your stories.

#1 – Look through all of the possible traits

On the Myers Briggs website there is a breakdown of all of the types of personalities.

We have briefly covered some in this article, but you should take the time to read through all of them (outlined on their website here) so you can find the right ones for your characters.

#2 – Outline the options and the personality

Once you find the right personality traits for your characters, you will want to keep a list of what those personality traits entail so you can make sure they make choices aligned with their personalities.

For example, if you decide that one of your characters is an ENTJ (the commander), you will want them making choices that are aligned with being bold, imaginative, and extroverted.

You will want to keep the basics of the traits outlined and easily accessible so you can consult it when you are not sure what choice a character should make.

#3 – Go through your story and keep traits consistent

If you have already written your story, or when you are done writing it, you will want to go back and check in to make sure your characters are staying true to what their personalities are.

If you have decided your characters are introverted, seeing them constantly be around people and feel energized by it is not aligned with their personality.

How To Not Use The Myers Briggs

Now, just because the Myers Briggs is a popular personality test, feel free to create characters outside of the personality traits.

These are not rules set in stone and you can do whatever you want with your characters.

The Myers Briggs is just a guide, but it can help you navigate how your characters grow and develop throughout your stories.

Examples of the Myers Briggs

Now that you know the basics of the Myers Briggs and how to use it for your characters, let’s take a look at some famous characters in stories to see how it works.

Jay Gatsby From The Great Gatsby: INTJ The Architect

Gatsby? An introvert? Well, if you re-read the book you will see he spends a lot of time alone throughout the books, even rarely enjoying his own parties.

He is quite intuitive and is a big dreamer, which is something that plays a key role in his personality throughout the whole book. He is always also thinking and constantly in his head, for better or worse.

Scarlett O’Hara from Gone With The Wind: ESTP The Entrepreneur

Scarlett O’Hara is the a character who truly makes something out of nothing. She’s charming, she’s bold, and she is easily bored, which makes her constantly on the hunt for things to do.

That is not to say she is the most likable character of all time, but you can see how her personality trait has her make the choices she makes. That is why she is not one of the more agreeable personality traits.

Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games: ISTJ The Logistician

Katniss is a strong character who makes the best of the position she is forced into. She always stands up for others and does not particularly like the limelight.

While ISTJ’s are more reserved, they have great integrity and follow through on the things they decide to do.

Need More Help With Your Characters?

Creating great characters is not easy, but we have just the right tool to help.

The Character Development Sheet gives you everything you need to fully flesh out a character and how to explain them to your audience.

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