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:
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.
- ISTJ stands for Introverted, Sensing, Thinking, Judging
- ENFP stands for Extraverted, iNtuitive, Feeling, Perceiving
|CHARACTER SHEET: xxx|
|Typical phrases||But no, truly…|
|Psychological type||ESFP: Extraverted Sensing Feeling Perceiving|
|Physical state||Always coffing (smokes too much)|
|Game||I am afraid of everything but I would do anything to save her|
|Particular abilities||Arouses pity|
|Partner||Nope, but he’s in love|
|Relationship with superiors||humble|
|Relationship with inferiors||lol|
|Relationship with peers||respectful|
|Relationship with money||He utterly hates it|
|Impulsive / Thoughtful||Impulsive|
|Polite / Rough||Polite|
|Opportunistic / Of principles||Of principles|
|Political orientation||Left wing|