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June 18 2017

5 Ways to Use Myers-Briggs for Characters

5 Ways to Use Myers-Briggs for CharactersI must now put my foot in my mouth. Once upon a time, I rather publicly said a big fat NO to the idea of personality-typing, particularly when it came to using Myers-Briggs for characters.


Some of you may even remember this gem from my book Outlining Your Novel:


In general, I’m not a fan of using personality tests (such as the popular Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) to flesh out characters. Trying to force a character to fit a personality framework, rather than allowing him to evolve organically, can leave you with a cardboard cutout, instead of a unique and compelling character.


The irony today is that I have two great passions: writing and … Myers-Briggs.


Some of you are now cheering wildly, since you share these intermingled passions. Others of you are crinkling your noses and going: Huh? And still others might be ready to hang up the phone, insisting Myers-Briggs is a pseudo-science, little better than zodiac descriptions.


So …


What Is Myers-Briggs and How Can It Help You Write Better?


In its simplest iteration, Myers-Briggs is a system of sixteen personality types, based on formative analytical psychologist Carl Jung’s idea of cognitive functions. The system assigns each personality type a label of four letters based on eight possible choices (which I was very excited to get to include in our newOutlining Your Novel Workbook software).


Myers-Briggs Character Personalities Outlining Your Novel Workbook software


Introvert (I) or Extrovert (E)


Sensor (S) or Intuitive (N)


Feeler (F) or Thinker (T)


Judger (J) or Perceiver (P)


From these choices, a type emerges (for example, my type is INTJ). Each of the resultant sixteen types can be given a general label or personality description which isbasicallytrue. Take any MBTI test online (even the one on the official MBTI site), and that’s what you’re likely to get.


That’s all fun and good, but if that’s as far as you’re taking the possibilities of Myers-Briggs for characters, then it reallyis kinda like the zodiac. Hence, my initial rejection of the system’s usefulness for typing my characters


But Myers-Briggs is so much more than just descriptions of sixteen different types of people. The true beauty of Myers-Briggs arises from its analysis of the cognitive functionsSensing, Intuition, Feeling, and Thinking-which can then be expanded yet again into introverted and extroverted versions of each function.


For example-and not to totally blow your minds or anything-but alltypes include both introverted and extroverted functions, as well as judging and perceiving functions. The Introvert/Extrovert and Judging/Perceiving labels merely exist to tell us which functions a specific type extroverts (for example, as Judgers, INTJs like me extrovert our Judging function of Thinking) and which function is dominant (for example, as Introverts, INTJs like me lead with our dominant introverted function of Intuition).


If you’re new to these ideas, then your eyes are probably crossing right now, and that’s okay, because a full-on discussion of cognitive functions is far beyond the scope of this blog. Indeed, it took me several years to really get my head around the underlying psychology.


Suffice it that Myers-Briggs is far more than the simple fill-in-the-blanks personality quiz I initially assumed when I wrote that misguided passage inOutlining Your Novel. If you’re interested in learning more about Myers-Briggs for characters, I recommend:


1. This amazing Tumblr account, which types popular characters and offers insightful discussions on the functions.


2. The bookWas That Really Me? by Naomi Quenk, which specifically addresses our weaker functions (i.e., the ones not visible in your type’s name, which, for me, as an INTJ, would be Introverted Feeling and Extroverted Sensing).


3. Play very carefully with online Myers-Briggs tests. They’re a good place to start to help you figure out the basics, but they’re only accurate perhaps 50% of the time. Most of them do not take into account the introverted/extroverted cognitive functions and often skew results toward Intuitives over Sensors.


5 Ways to Use Myers-Briggs for Characters


Interestingly, Myers-Briggs was created by author Katherine Cook Briggs, who was searching for a way to better explore and understand her characters. Writing good fiction must always arise out of a quest for meaning and understanding inlife. We cannot write comprehensive and complex people until we first are able to recognize and understand the complexities we find in ourselves and those around us. Indeed, the key to writing great characters is psychology itself.


Here are five ways I now use my understanding of Myers-Briggs for characters that are bigger, better, and more realistic.


1. Keeping Characters in Character


Perhaps the most obvious advantage of any personality-typing system-but especially one as intricate as Myers-Briggs-is that it gives us a basis against which to test our characters’ consistency. An understanding of the personality types, and especially the cognitive functions, will give you a litmus test for your character’s actions.


What would someone like this do in a situation like this? How will his brain work to provide him options and solutions? It’s not just about saying oh, yes, this personality type would be impulsive, while this type would be more calculated. It’s about understanding the actual thought patterns that create these visible actions.


2. Creating a Variety of Personalities


My entry point into using Myers-Briggs for characters was a curiosity about whether my characters might all share the same personality (please, no), or perhaps even whether they might all sharemy personality. So I started doing basic typings on all my characters, just to see what I’d find.


I did find some patterns (I tend to favor SP characters, and I hardlyever write characters of my own type), but what was most fascinating was the realization that Iwas instinctively creating varied casts. Now that I consciously understand what I’m doing, I’m able to use Myers-Briggs to help me write even more diverse personalities, which in turn creates more colorful and complex story possibilities.


3. Creating Inter-Personality Conflict


Once you’ve peopled your story with a cast of varied personality types, you can then take advantage of the inherent conflict that arises between types who share no or few cognitive functions-and who therefore often struggle to understand one another’s motives and choices.


This is a fabulous way to create interpersonal conflict even between characters who are allies. In fact, this is one of the reasons Marvel’sThe Avengers andCivil War ended up working so well.


Tony Stark (ESFP) and Steve Rogers (ISFJ) sharezero cognitive functions and consistently clash with each other’s values and methods as a result. Even better, it sets up their stories with the ability to explore more personal issues of relationships and contrasting character arcs-born not arbitrarily, but of consistently realized personalities.


captain-america-civil-war-robert-downey-jr-chris-evans


4. Brainstorming Character Motives and Actions


Ever get yourself and your character stuck in a plot corner, in which you’re uncertain how your character will get himself out? You can use an understanding of the cognitive functions to figure out how your character’s brain works. And, unless he’s the same type as you, his brain probably wouldn’t come up with the same first option as you would.


For example, in writing my ISTP protagonist in my historical-superhero work-in-progressWayfarer, I repeatedly returned to his dominant functions (Introverted Thinking, Extroverted Sensing) to help me determine his actions and mindset, as well as the way in which he interacted with characters around him. This was particularly useful when playing him against the main relationship character, a nine-year-old girl, who was an ENTJ (whose dominant functions are Extroverted Thinking and Introverted Intuition).


Their contrasting views of life (the protagonist’s ability to live and react in the moment; the girl’s skills for thinking about long-term consequences) not only created fun opportunities for some of that interpersonal conflict, it also allowed their skill sets to nicely complement each other’s.


5. Learning More About Your Characters


Our characters provide neverending depths for us to explore. Just as with any complex human being, there is alwaysmore to discover about them. Myers-Briggs can provide a framework for helping us dig ever deeper.


Dreamlander NIEA Finalist


Currently, I’m working on the sequel to my portal fantasyDreamlander. I’ve already written an entire book about these characters, so I know them very well. And yet, I’m still discovering new things. In considering how best to keep the characters consistent with their cognitive functions, I’ve opened up new areas of understanding and possibility.


For example, just yesterday as I worked on a scene in the POV of my female lead Allara (one of my few INTJ characters), my growing understanding of my own Introverted Intuition led me to a deeper and more realized understanding of howher brain must work and how this would have influenced her entire backstory-and thus her future story as well. The new possibilities for making this character better, more realistic, and more thematically potent are incredibly exciting. And I would never have found them without the insights Myers-Briggs has provided me into my own life.


***


Myers-Briggs offers a theoretical framework through which we can interpret our own lives and the world around us. Seeking a greater understanding of life is worthwhile whether you want to use it in your writing or not. Be warned, it is a deep rabbit hole, every bit as complex as (more than?) story theory itself. But the deeper you delve into both personality-typing and story theory, the more insight they’re able to bring to one another.


Wordplayers, tell me your opinion! How would you describe your protagonist’s personality? Tell me in the comments!


The post 5 Ways to Use Myers-Briggs for Characters appeared first on Helping Writers Become Authors.

June 11 2017

Powerful Ocean Advocates

The Nature Conservancy has had a strong history of successes in land protection, conservation, and restoration, since the organization’s inception in 1951. In the past 25 years, we’ve also been a major player in marine conservation, identifying the most effective approaches to strengthen and restore underwater habitats, manage fisheries and protect coastal communities around the world. At the same time, renowned oceanographer, explorer, aquanaut, and author Dr. Sylvia Earle has been trailblazing in ocean research and conservation, advocating for marine life, and working to protect and preserve the systems that support the health of our planet and our survival. As she notes, We need to do everything in our power to protect and restore what we can as if our lives depend on it, because they do.

Sylvia Earle with kids. KipEvans(MissionBlue)

Dr. Earle’s life’s work has intersected on many occasions with the Conservancy’s conservation efforts around the globe and in the waters along the Florida coast. Dr. Earle spent her formative years in Florida. I have deep roots in the state, she says. We moved to Dunedin, near St. Pete on the Gulf Coast of Florida, when I was 12. Our house was right on the water and I was always off exploring the nearby salt marshes and sea-grass beds. During a recent visit to Jupiter, Florida, Dr. Earle joined Conservancy scientists and staff in a discussion of critical ocean issues and drew attention to the need for continued action, to further research and monitoring, and to make informed decisions using the incredible wealth of information that we have available to us. She encourages everyone to support those doing work to protect our oceans, as well as do their part. Issues including overfishing, plastic pollution, and the local changes she’s seen to abundance of wildlife and the health of habitat are of grave concern to her. Of course, she’s also optimistic, and for good reason. Her organization, Mission Blue, as well as The Nature Conservancy make strides each day to protect and restore our waters, and inform the public and decision makers about ocean issues. As Dr. Earle says, knowing leads to caring.

Sylvia Earle SCUBA diving. KipEvans(MissionBlue)

The need for marine conservation is especially important here in Florida, with its 1,200 miles of coastline and some of the world’s most productive reefs, bays and estuaries that, in addition to supporting plant and animal diversity, contribute nearly $562 billion to the state’s economy each year. The Conservancy’s efforts along Florida’s coasts began in 1969 when the Blowing Rocks Preserve in Hobe Sound was donated to the Conservancy by a group of Jupiter Island residents. This prompted the organization’s work in the Indian River Lagoon, the most biodiverse lagoon ecosystem in the Northern Hemisphere, followed in 1987 by a focus on protecting biodiversity in the Florida Keys.

Earle’s interest in nature and the oceans began early, and was developed through her education. She majored in botany at Florida State University, where she was certified as a SCUBA diver, and then went on to complete masters and Ph.D. degrees at Duke University. For her dissertation, she continued her studies in the Gulf of Mexico, collecting over 20,000 samples of algae to catalog aquatic plant life. Her first job: resident director of Cape Haze Marine Laboratories in Sarasota. Today, Dr. Earle and her organization, Mission Blue, work closely with the Conservancy, swimming in the same policy waters, sharing common goals.

Sea lion. KipEvans(MissionBlue)

Much has changed over the course of Dr. Earle’s long career. 100 years ago when the U.S. Government began the National Park Service, nature was prized mostly for its recreational opportunities, because it was pretty, she says. But in 1951, when the Conservancy first opened its doors, there was already a growing sense of urgency. People were realizing that we had to do something or else lose, not just species, but entire ecosystems. Protecting nature is no longer viewed as an option but as a necessity. We have no other choice. We must maintain the integrity of the natural systems that hold our planet steady.

Dr. Earle’s work has taken her around the world and a dizzying career (see bio) that is so crammed with accomplishments that any attempt to contain it in an article dissolves quickly into lists of job titles, awards, prizes, recognitions, book titles and honorary degrees (you see, it’s happening already). She holds the world record for the deepest untethered dive, has her own line of deep-sea submersibles, and has been lauded as a Hero for the Planet by Time magazine and Explorer in Residence at the National Geographic Society. Suffice to say, Dr. Earle is one of today’s most recognized proponents of ocean conservation.

Sylvia Earle explores a sea cave. KipEvans(MissionBlue)

Among all these accomplishments, perhaps Dr. Earle’s greatest one has been spreading the message about the urgent need for conservation, a message that is part warning and part promise. In my short lifetime, I have seen the degradation of nature on an unprecedented scale, she says. In the 50 years since I took my first dive right here in the Keys, the world has lost half of its coral reefs. The good news is that I’m no longer hearing people say ‘woe is me, look at what we’ve lost.’ People are waking up and seeing a tremendous opportunity, not just to save what’s left, but to reverse the decline and help nature heal.

The Conservancy sees opportunity as well. With 30 years of marine and coastal conservation work in Florida and the many accomplishments of the Conservancy’s global oceans program, the Conservancy continues to balance the urgent need for ocean conservation with the needs of people, to reduce risks along our shorelines through natural systems and habitat restoration, and to decrease threats and increase positive actions. In Florida, its significant successes can be seen everywhere from mitigating the effects of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill to restoring sections of the Gulf coastline, oyster habitats and coral reefs. If it wasn’t for the Conservancy’s work here in Florida, says Dr. Earle, its coastal waters would be facing an even greater threat.

Recognizingtheleadershipofwomeninconservation,KathyB.McLeod,DirectorofClimateRisk&ResilienceforTheNatureConservancy,Dr.SylviaA.Earle,Oceanographer;NationalGeographicExplorer-In-Residence;Founder,MissionBlueandTemperinceMorgan,ExecutiveDirectorofTheNatureConservancyinFloridaconveneinJupiterIsland,FL. LouLozada

Dr. Earle is a force for ocean conservation, an iconic, inspirational marine scientist. Her research, exploration, and passion have had impact on ocean protection efforts globally. We’re grateful for Dr. Earle’s efforts to conserve our vast oceans and the vital systems that sustain our planet, said Anne Birch, Marine Program Manager, The Nature Conservancy in Florida. Interpreting science for the non-scientist is an art that Dr. Earle has mastered and championed throughout her life. She is an inspirational leader and teacher, encouraging us to always nurture our curiosity and never stop learning about the world around us, whether it’s in our backyard, our community, and beyond.

Dr. Earle salutes The Nature Conservancy’s oceans work as well. The Conservancy is a true guardian of the seas, confirms Dr. Earle. Together, two powerful ocean advocates.

Sylvia Earle’s Biography

Dr. Sylvia A. Earle is Explorer in Residence at the National Geographic Society, Founder of the Sylvia Earle Alliance (S.E.A.) / Mission Blue, Founder of Deep Ocean Exploration and Research Inc. (DOER), Chair of the Advisory Council for the Harte Research Institute and former Chief Scientist of NOAA.

Author of more than 200 publications and leader of more than 100 expeditions with over 7,000 hours underwater, Dr. Earle is a graduate of Florida State University with M.A. and PhD. degrees from Duke University and 27 honorary doctorates. Her research concerns the ecology and conservation of marine ecosystems and development of technology for access to the deep sea.

She is the subject of the Emmy Award Winning Netflix documentary, Mission Blue, and the recipient of more than 100 national and international honors and awards including being named Time Magazine’s first Hero for the Planet, a Living Legend by the Library of Congress, 2014 UNEP Champion of the Earth, Glamour Magazine’s 2014 Woman of the Year, member of the Netherlands Order of the Golden Ark, and winner of the 2009 TED Prize, the Walter Cronkite Award, the 1996 Explorers Club Medal, the Royal GeographicSociety 2011 Patron’s Medal, and the National Geographic 2013 Hubbard Medal.

June 04 2017

May 14 2017

April 30 2017

April 23 2017

April 09 2017

Dramatic stellar fireworks of star birth

Stellar explosions are most often associated with supernovae, the spectacular deaths of stars. But new observations provide insights into explosions at the other end of the stellar life cycle, star birth. Astronomers captured these dramatic images as they explored the firework-like debris from the birth of a group of massive stars, demonstrating that star formation can be a violent and explosive process too.

March 26 2017

March 05 2017

Is anything tough enough to survive on Mars?

Two separate investigations determine that microorganisms can survive on the surface of Mars, and deep in its subsurface.

Hunting for giant planet analogs in our own backyard

There may be a large number of undetected bright, substellar objects similar to giant exoplanets in our own solar neighborhood, according to new work.

February 26 2017

January 29 2017

Chiral quantum optics: A new research field with bright perspectives

Recently, surprising physical effects were observed using special microscopic waveguides for light. Such “photonic structures” currently are revolutionizing the fields of optics and photonics, and have opened up the new research area of “Chiral Quantum … Read more


January 22 2017

January 08 2017

Adult Acne: Where Does It Come From?

Looking for more beauty and spa treatment info? Visit us






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