Have you ever thought you knew yourself only to find out you had a basic misconception? This happened to me last week at the Blue Ridge Christian Writers Conference when Angela Hunt discussed how to use personality tests to help develop characters in a book. She suggested using the Myers-Briggs Personality system to assign a personality to your characters, thus giving an outline of all of their traits. This makes the characters more believable for your readers.
I found this idea captivating, partially because I am an analytical person and I enjoy evaluating my own and others personalities but I also could see the value of this idea in developing a series of children’s mysteries. Part of the challenge with this second book is making sure my characters actions remain consistent with their driving motivations.
One of the areas of the Myers-Briggs, Angela explained could be described as “Pilers vs. Filers”. She said you are either the kind of person who is always organized or one who has piles everywhere. My immediate thought, considering how my office and house looked at that point, was that I was definitely a piler. So when I got back to my room I punched the four letters I had chosen into my google and up popped a site describing “my” personality. However, it wasn’t exact. It seemed a bit off. So, I proceeded to find an online test and I took it. That test, believe it or not, said I was NOT a piler, but rather a filer! No way!
Then I thought about it. Hum, maybe that’s why I always loved taking my syllabi in college and plugging all of the assignments into my planner, then checking them off as I finished. I do like lists, I just don’t always follow through. I love having a plan. In fact, I insist on having a plan even if it has to change frequently. So my next thought was this. . . am I just an undisciplined filer? If I am truly a filer, if this is who God made me to be then I should live that in my life. I no longer can use the excuse, “oh that’s just the way I am.” So, from now on I’m going to strive to focus on being who I am. . . an organized person! I’ll let you know how it goes. 🙂