Friday, December 02, 2016

Being INFJ and a writer

INFJ is one of the 16 types of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and I happen to be exactly that type  and I've read a lot about this type to understand myself better. However, it wasn't until today that I understood the writer side of me when I read:
"Want to understand what motivates people and are insightful about others."
I've always said to others that I like to explore the inner workings of my characters, what drives them, why do they do what they do and I even favour the ones in the darker spectrum* because I'm fascinated more by them than the typical "good guy".

I for example despise movies and books where we just accept that the bad guy wants to hurt others but we do not get a reason to why, that is why in general I don't like horror movies because they don't give a motivation to why the killer want to slash the babysitter to bits. I also don't like the Wizard of Oz for the same reason, it's very black and white, but it's also why I like the book Wicked based on the same world, but it tells the story of the wicked witch and her motivations.

When I read above quoted passage I felt "Yes!". I think that is why I've favoured first person storytelling when I write, which I didn't realise until this year's NaNoWriMo when I against better judgement wrote in third person. I want to poke around in there, I want to know what they feel, how they feel, what they want to do about it. Usually I did that in third limited, but now that's not enough anymore, I need to be under their skin - feel their rage, their sadness, their loss.

I think that is why I have expanded the Magnolia-world from one book to three. I find new perspectives I want to explore.
Book 1: We follow M and LadyM, the two most powerful women of that land
Book 2: We follow R who is a regular girl in that land who has to deal with the aftermath of what happens in book 1
Book 3: We follow D, the queen of the neighbouring country, which tells the same story as R but from a different perspective

Book 3 was never planned to be. Half way through what I've so far written of book 1 (which is probably half way) I knew there had to be a book 2, I couldn't leave it that way. I needed another pair of eyes to tell what happens next. Book 3 mostly happened because of D, she basically came to me and I knew I had to tell her story too.

As you notice, the Magnolia books are heavily based on the characters and what they go through, their story. I want to know what motivates them (as said). My characters are never bad to begin with (greyscale remember) but some of them do shitty stuff and I want to make my characters complex enough for the reader to both hate the character's actions but to feel with them too. My characters aren't always what they seem.

I know that is a big (and maybe impossible) thing to try, but it's one of the reasons I write and one of the reasons why I favour my darker characters instead of the lighter ones. They're harder to write, but they are also more interesting to explore.

*I don't see people as black and white (good or bad), I see people on a greyscale spectrum and with our actions we go back and forth on that spectrum, we're not stagnant because no one is pure evil or pure good.

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