Saturday, December 20, 2008

revisiting Myers-Briggs

One of the things I have been doing in recent days is to re-read David Keirsey's Please Understand Me II about the Myers-Briggs system of personality typing. I go through various stages of using different personality typing to help develop my characters. Often I will go to ennegrams and occasionally astrology or birth order but I have used Myers-Briggs in the past.
Because Myer Briggs is Jungian based, it dovetails well with the Joseph Campbell/Christopher Volger theory on the hero's journey. Ennegrams are more Freudian based.
Switching things around helps to keep me on my toes. And I suspect that with this current wip, I will be using Jungian philosophy more to develop the characters.
There are two ways you can go about using Keirsey -- one is to create your characters and then use the personality test taken from the Point of View of the character to help determine the character's personality and how they would react in a given situation. Or you can chose one of the 16 personality types and mould your character around that. There are pros and cons to both approaches.
When you are integrating into a Vogler framework, then you also need to make sure you are aware of the archetypal role the character will be playing and how that role will effect the personality or vice versa. Every personality type can play every role but they will do so in a slightly different way as their world view is different. For example if a character has a Rational Architect type personality then they will approach the role of guardian of the gate in a different manner than if they have an Idealistic healer personality. Guardian of the gate is Vogler's way of saying that at some point along the journey, a character is going to point out to the hero all the problems they face and why they are not equipped for the journey. For example in Romancing the Stone, the publisher takes on this role when she tells Joan Wilder that she has problems negotiating department stores.
Anyway, I am enjoying going back and re-reading these things to see if I can polish up my characterisation. It is one of those things. Writing is not about standing still. You (or at least me) do not reach some magic plateau where all your skills are honed and you never need to think about craft again. It is always the polishing up of the clock face, practicing and relearning of skills so that you can use them better.

In other news:
Having had my dh decide to play a Christmas elf and do wrapping, we ran out of tape. The tape situation has now been sorted and I can make further inroads on the present mountian. Currently I am hoping that I have enough paper...The worst is when you suddenly discover a stash of things that you carefully hid away in the early autumn and then promptly forgot.

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