Creative writing method (Characters sheets and Jung’s personality types)

Standard

I find it very useful, before starting to write a new novel, to write down a character sheet at least for the main character, in order to build a solid personality, background, personality. I propose here the character sheet that I use at the moment, of course it changed in time, I have been adding things, but everyone should find her/his own, so feel free to use this one or not, to modify it or not. Whatever works for you.

Within the character sheet I put a field for the Jungian Psychological type, I actually do the test trying to impersonate the character and see what comes out of it. I think that this is also a good base to a solid character.

Let’s see in more detail what a Personality Type is.

Source: Jung’s Personality Types

According to Carl G. Jung’s theory of psychological types [Jung, 1971], people can be characterized by:

Their general attitude,

  • Extraverted (E) vs. Introverted (I),

Their preference of one of the two functions of perception,

  • Sensing (S) vs. Intuition (N),

Their preference of one of the two functions of judging,

 

  • Thinking (T) vs. Feeling (F).

 

The three areas of preferences introduced by Jung are dichotomies (i.e. bipolar dimensions where each pole represents a different preference). Jung also proposed that in a person one of the four functions above is dominant – either a function of perception or a function of judging. Isabel Briggs Myers, a researcher and practitioner of Jung’s theory, proposed to see the judging-perceiving relationship as a fourth dichotomy influencing personality type [Briggs Myers, 1980]:

 

  • Judging (J) vs. Perceiving (P).

 

The first criterion, Extraversion – Introversion, signifies the source and direction of a person’s energy expression. An extravert’s source and direction of energy expression is mainly in the external world, while an introvert has a source of energy mainly in their own internal world.

The second criterion, Sensing – Intuition, represents the method by which someone perceives information. Sensing means that a person mainly believes information he or she receives directly from the external world. Intuition means that a person believes mainly information he or she receives from the internal or imaginative world.

The third criterion, Thinking – Feeling, represents how a person processes information. Thinking means that a person makes a decision mainly through logic. Feeling means that, as a rule, he or she makes a decision based on emotion, i.e. based on what they feel they should do.

The fourth criterion, Judging – Perceiving, reflects how a person implements the information he or she has processed. Judging means that a person organizes all of his life events and, as a rule, sticks to his plans. Perceiving means that he or she is inclined to improvise and explore alternative options.

All possible permutations of preferences in the 4 dichotomies above yield 16 different combinations, or personality types, representing which of the two poles in each of the four dichotomies dominates in a person, thus defining 16 different personality types. Each personality type can be assigned a 4 letter acronym of corresponding combination of preferences:

ESTJ ISTJ ENTJ INTJ
ESTP ISTP ENTP INTP
ESFJ ISFJ ENFJ INFJ
ESFP ISFP ENFP INFP

The first letter in the personality type acronym corresponds to the first letter of the preference of general attitude – “E” for extraversion and “I” for introversion.

The second letter in the personality type acronym corresponds to the preference within the sensing-intuition dimension: “S” stands for sensing and “N” stands for intuition.

The third letter in the personality type acronym corresponds to preference within the thinking-feeling pair: “T” stands for thinking and “F” stands for feeling.

The fourth letter in the personality type acronym corresponds a person’s preference within the judging-perceiving pair: “J” for judging and “P” for perception.

For example:

  • ISTJ stands for Introverted, Sensing, Thinking, Judging
  • ENFP stands for Extraverted, iNtuitive, Feeling, Perceiving
CHARACTER SHEET: xxx
Generalities
Name xxx
Age xxx
Birth place xxx
Gender xxx
Nationality xxx
Typical phrases But no, truly…
Psychological type ESFP: Extraverted Sensing Feeling Perceiving
Physical state Always coffing (smokes too much)
Mental state Anxious
Game I am afraid of everything but I would do anything to save her
Appearance
Eyes xxx
Hair xxx
Complexion xxx
Face xxx
Body xxx
Particular signs xxx
Look xxx
Career
Studies xxx
Profession Unemployed
Interests Literature
Particular abilities Arouses pity
Income ehm…
Background
Family xxx
Colleagues Homeless people
Friends xxx
Partner Nope, but he’s in love
Childhood xxx
Adolescence xxx
Youth xxx
Adult age xxx
Behaviour
Relationship with superiors humble
Relationship with inferiors lol
Relationship with peers respectful
Psychology
Loves xxx
Hates xxx
Relationship with money He utterly hates it
Impulsive / Thoughtful Impulsive
Polite / Rough Polite
Opportunistic / Of principles Of principles
Sexuality Eterosexual
Notes
Political orientation Left wing
Religion xxx
Vices xxx
Virtues xxx
Dreams xxx
Ambitions xxx

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