Thursday, August 14, 2014

Call to Action

Flickr Credit: Alberto Cerriteño

Last week I participated in the Teens Can Write Too! Blog Chain, which is still ongoing, if inquiring minds are interested. The thing of it was, answering that particular prompt was trickier than I had imagined: What characters are you most like?

It’s easy to admire characters—Captain America is righteous, Percy Jackson is a good fighter, Harry Potter is brave, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera! But I am not particularly like any of them. And the more I searched, the more I realized that there aren’t a lot of characters who I am truly like.

I even started looking for female characters based on my Myers-Briggs type: ISTJ. In a few words, that means I’m reliable, I’m detail-oriented, impersonal, structured, and task-driven. There’s also a sense of humor in there, but sometimes it takes you a while to find it.

There were almost no female ISTJs I could find that I recognized. There are two solutions: watch more TV and find these characters, or write my own. Maybe even encourage people I know to write characters like that.

That in mind, I’ve thought of things I don’t see, and would be interested in seeing.

  • a shy extrovert—I can’t imagine how miserable this would be. You need people to thrive, but you can’t get the social interaction you need without feeling terrible and ashamed.
  • an ISTJ who makes tasks fun—At least in my case, I am very task driven, and when I think of task-driven characters, they are the ones who want the report on their desk yesterday and insist on never having fun until it’s done. But I pertain to the Mary Poppins philosophy: “In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. Find the fun, and SNAP! The job’s a game!” I like reward systems, candy for doing my homework, but it can go so many different directions. The office gets a pizza party for saving the world. Secret agents who listen to Pink Panther while they’re working. That is my kind of game.
  • commitment to weird duties—If I have a duty, then I will do it. That could be taxes or the dishwasher, but I will do it. But it would be interesting to see a character whose greatest duty is to flipping over coins to the head side. Have someone who will bend over backwards to help jellyfish because they believe they must do it. Just obeying laws is boring—there’s more to it than that.
  • female ISTJ—Also, according to this blog, there are 10% more males than females in this particular type, and there are like, 95% more males than females like that in fiction. Just pointing that out.
  • creative people who pay bills—Those characters that are way out there in terms of creativity and art also seem to be ones who seem to think that bills are irrelevant and doing the dishes isn’t a big deal. I know people like this, but I also know very creative people who work very hard to keep a clean house and stay out of debt because they have a business to run and families to feed.
  • redefinition of organized—For the most part people like me are said to be very organized, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t messy. My floor is covered with books and paper (don’t worry, I can get out of my house in a fire). I have a system to the way I do things, but that doesn’t mean spotless by any account.
  • tries to care—Most of the time I don’t pick up on emotions very well. That’s not really surprising. But with those characters like Javert and Darth Vader and Eeyore, they are often absorbed in their own little worlds. Maybe not Eeyore. All the same, even though I don’t understand what people are feeling, I will try to understand. And if I don’t understand, I will ask.
  • unusual job—Make a nurturing person an accountant. Make an ISTP a teacher. Make an ESFP sit at a computer all day in a room by herself. Here’s a twist—make them love it. We find ways to make our passions fit our jobs, and I don’t think there are nearly enough ISTJ writers out there myself.

“Then why don’t YOU write them?”

 I will, silly. But it doesn’t really count unless more people think of new ways to represent people. And if more people agree to represent them. There’s a lot of track left to run as we outrun the old ideas—and my ideas only scratch the surface.

What kinds of character traits do you want to see in movies and novels? Share your ideas below! And, if you know any characters who match my thoughts, let me know so I can look them up!


  1. I just read an article on how clutter and creativity are related, and "creative people who pay bills" was a pleasant contrast. I'd like to see both kinds of creatives in the same room... :P

    1. I would too--but I have to wonder if they'd get along perfectly or drive each other nuts!

  2. A shy extrovert, AKA story of my life... Also a redefinition of organized. :P And yeah, there definitely aren't enough of those characters out there.

    1. :) Glad you agree. Though unfortunateness remains. But they are not the only ones... perhaps you have suggestions too?


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