I was doing some personality research on characters for my next novel (which is really my first novel) yesterday. I want to be able to write these characters and do them justice, so I do this research to get out of myself and into them. I can’t be writing and say, “How would I respond to this?” Rather, I have to ask, “How would Character X respond to this?” It’s much like the acting process.
In order to better understand the reactions of the four main characters (the characters through whom the story is expressed) in my novel, I did something I’ve never done before. I took the Myers-Briggs Personality Test for each of them. For all sixty-some odd questions, I had to abandon who I am and what I would do or prefer, and ask who these characters are. It was a great exercise, and the results were accurate.
Now, if I ever lose their voices, I have great reference points to regain them.
I am definitely a character-based writer. I think I love writing characters more than I love writing actual stories. I am always looking for better ways to make my characters more real, more relatable.
And isn’t that what actors do too?