Here’s the Myers Briggs assessment of my next main character in the Law and Magic series, Millie. Assignment found here: https://authoramiegibbons.wordpress.com/2014/10/24/hey-baby-whats-your-personality-type-writers-hub-assignment/
Millie is scientific, socially awkward, can’t read people, can’t understand when people say something and mean something else, and if she didn’t actually try to understand and care, she’d be a freaking robot.
So of course I knew before taking the Myers Briggs test for her that she was an INTJ. The test is found here: http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/JTypes2.asp and it groups you into 1 of 16 types. Millie is an INTJ, the Mastermind or (according to the mean joke version) the Crackpot.
INTJ’s are know it alls, borderline Aspergers, arrogant, and logical. They make great bad guys because they are brilliant and usually quite cold. They are good as anti-heros (think House), but they make even better, more compelling, protagonists.
Millie is always willing to help her friends, but if someone isn’t one of the people she considers one of her own, she has no sympathy. She doesn’t see the problem with this because no one can care about everyone. Most people think of the world on a spectrum, like they won’t go grab a stranger from 20 miles away, because why would they, but they might pick them up and give them a ride. An INTJ will go 100 miles for a friend, no questions asked, but it won’t even occur to them to stop for the broken down on the side of the road stranger.
INTJs aren’t great with the opposite sex and tend to date other INTJs, because they get each other. BUT female INTJs are very rare, most of the guys are going to be those self-confident dorks who are alone their entire lives because girls are always stomping off, yelling over their shoulders that the guys are assholes (scene from The Social Network, anyone?), And a girl INTJ? She’s screwed because she doesn’t know what games are going on, doesn’t want to learn, and usually scares guys away with pure peculiarity.
That’s Millie. Her background is a broken heart that’s years old that she never really dealt with and never got over. And she’s been trying to explain the science behind attachment and broken hearts ever since. So she’s sensitive and emotional with her own problems, but doesn’t want to be, would prefer to be cold because life makes so much more sense that way.
Her best friend is a magical talking Meowl (cat with owl wings) and she’s always loved animals, probably because she sucks with people. She has a close family and a few very good friends, but her social circle is small.
INTJs are generally perfectionists, love puzzles, do better when they can work on their own rather than in a group, and have a general disregard for authority. They expect people to make sense, and pound at the problem (the person) until the person does make sense, which is off putting to others and often annoying.
I’m working on a few short stories staring Millie, but the greatest challenge is making the awkward, sometimes self-centered, clueless robot into a protagonist people can relate to, like and cheer for.
So what do you do when you love your protagonist, but can see why people wouldn’t like them?
1. ID traits that you love, that make your protagonist the hero, and make sure to bring those out at the beginning of the story so when she’s weird and cold later, people kind of get it.
2. Put her in a situation everyone can understand, everybody’s been there and reacted with the same emotion as she does. Like something good happens and she’s happy, or bad and she’s upset. She has emotions, just doesn’t show them or process them the same way others do.
3. Put her into the problem early on and have her deal with it, help someone, try to do the right thing, ect… If there’s someone being pulled into the alley, have her stupidly jump in to help, showing that she sometimes does care about strangers, they just have to be in a situation that obviously calls for help.
So, what are some of the things you think an INTJ would do to show they aren’t all super villains from comic books? Also, I still need a last name for Millie and can’t think of a good one. Any suggestions?
Happy writing 🙂