I‘m an INTJ, and I know several people who are INTJs. I like to think I know a bit about this topic. (Note, even if you aren’t interested in typing your characters, this may be helpful for any villain.)
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Myers-Briggs testing, INTJs are known as the planners, strategists, and brilliant masterminds. Consequently, they are often portrayed as the villain in fiction when they appear. INTJs tend to express little emotion, and their logic is nearly flawless, but why always put him/her in the antagonist’s role? People often place the INTJ as the antagonist in their story. This is wrong. In the classic novel, there is a corrupted mastermind who plans world domination, or something equally damaging, like cutting in line for coffee. Along comes a rookie, who knows nearly nothing about the destroying-evil villains process, (Or how long the guy has waited for everyone to look in a different direction,) and they find a flaw in the antagonist’s plan. Ka-boom, brilliant mastermind with years of experience defeated by a novice. (At the very least, the INTJ has to wait his turn in line for coffee.)
This can work, if the INTJ is too logical for his own good. For example, the INTJ thinks things through to well. Even then, this is tricky to pull off. Also, every well-rounded villain should have a pitfall. (Obviously the lack of patience to wait for his turn for coffee. And maybe some narcissism.) The INTJ especially guards this secret well, but if discovered, the protagonist can use this to his advantage. (Calling out to to barista and complaining.) So enough of all that.
Why write an INTJ good guy?
1. He’s smart. He is a brilliant mastermind after all. Let him predict the villain’s wicked plans. Maybe he’s right, and maybe he’s wrong.
2. It makes the story more believable. Sure, keep the MC who knows nothing about crime-fighting, and mature him, (coming of age, anyone?) but the INTJ is the genius. Place her in the mentoring category (but don’t kill her). Let the smart guy figure out things, and then let the MC take the stage.
3. It makes us INTJs feel better. Even though we might commiserate with villains more than protagonists, we’re not evil. We love logic, and when a villains logic falls through, like it always does, it seems wrong. (Illogical. The villain would have taken over the world if it hadn’t been for that same old prophesied teenager. Oh well, there’s always next year.) I hear that people who are not INTJs tend to be a little more compassionate, so make us feel better.
4. It can be entertaining to the reader. So we have the normal villain personality, and he’s on the GOOD side?! Halt from the Ranger’s Apprentice is a good example of this. (Not exactly an INTJ, but close.)
How to write an INTJ
- From 16personalities.com (The free test is amazing!)
“INTJs are simultaneously the most starry-eyed idealists and the bitterest of cynics.”
- We’re dreamers, but we also carefully analyze every, single, thing. Some people might call INTJs pessimists, but I prefer the term practical. It is hard for INTJs to accept a proposition without checking every detail and adding a few suggestions. Make sure you character has dreams of the future (or something similar), but it absolutely sure that it will not happen without a lot of work. (And who would help me? Nobody. They all want the world to clean itself up. Who has the burden? Me. etc.)
- Smart, but easily annoyed. Make sure your character knows a lot about the subjects at hand. If he/she doesn’t, make sure you make them hungry for knowledge, and make sure you give them that knowledge. (Disclaimer: not always true. We prefer to plan, but will wing things on a moment’s notice.) That being said, they get annoyed when talking to people who don’t know anything about the subject, and can also be a tad arrogant.
- Don’t give respect just because it is demanded of them. Strange, but INTJs will follow the rules, and can be picky about it too. However, if the rules seem unfair or pointless, automatically, some wiggle room appears. They do not like bowing to authority unless they respect the person/government/law.
- Are seemingly emotionally strong. This can give a cold feeling, but we’re really not that harsh, we just don’t notice because we don’t need care ourselves. However, there is always an exception. We can show emotion sometimes, because we aren’t emotionless. INTJ have feelings, but they aren’t quite sure how to use them, and deem them illogical. Sometimes, even though they don’t like it, an emotion will escape whether it’s a laugh, a smile, or a tear. Though INTJs don’t like admitting it, we sometimes need care too, but it takes a very trusted person to realize it.
- Are always thinking. It may look like the INTJ is doing nothing, but inside his mind is moving miles a minute.
- Keep to themselves. The mastermind keeps to himself, and is an expert at making you think you know all about them, when all you see is the shadow.
- Tend to have a sarcastic streak.
What NOT To Do:
- We’re not always cold, cruel, puppy-killers. Don’t always write us like that.
- Give us some humanity. We like to think that we’re robots, but we’re not.
Boom, there you have it. How to write an INTJ character. Stay tuned for a post about how to write an INTJ as a villain.
I’m off to go dominate the coffee world.