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  1. #1
    Don't Judge Me! Haphazard's Avatar
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    Default Writers and MBTI type

    I heard somewhere in the typing of fictional people board that writers tend to look to their anima (animus... whatever, inferior function) when writing fiction.

    Is this true? I can think of one real life case -- an acquaintance, an ENTJ, definitely writes in an Fi way. Most of Mark Twain's more famous works looked back to his childhood (Si) and he's usually typed as ENTP.

    Any other examples? Or is there overwhelming evidence otherwise?

    I guess this would explain the need for suspension of disbelief. The writer would be taking from something that they have little experience with.
    -Carefully taking sips from the Fire Hose of Knowledge

  2. #2
    Plumage and Moult proteanmix's Avatar
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    Great topic!

    Your animus or anima (inferior function + shadows) is where the bulk of your personality lies (iceberg baby!). It basically colors your interactions with anything and everything. Your conscious functions (roughly dominant through tertiary, sometimes inferior depending on how comfortable you feel accessing it) tends to be not very exciting when people feel the need to individuate their functions or get creative. Most people are adept with their dominant and auxiliary by their mid to late 20s and want to begin to explore the recesses of themselves. That could be the reason 30-35 people start to feel more confident in themselves and willing to start new adventures in their life. I don't think this means that ESTJs suddenly morph into INFPs, but you can find themes that tend to look more Fi in nature from an ESTJ writer and Te themes from an INFP which can throw typing.

    As far as writing goes, I got that from Marie Louise von Franz's book Psychotherapy. She was talking about how one of the ways she looks for the inferior and shadow with her analysands was to listen to them tell stories, read their writings, and analyze the pictures they drew. She said ITPs would draw pastels and watercolors of people dancing and singing (shadow Fe), ESPs tell these very mystical and obscure ghost stories (shadow Ni), EFJs would get critical and obsessive thoughts about the nature of things and themselves (shadow Ti), so on and so forth. The inferior can manifiest itself positively or negatively which typically casts how the shadow will manifest itself. You can have a positive relationship to your inferior, the gateway to the unconscious, or a negative.

    I don't believe as was suggested most fictional characters are intuitives or even the writers themselves. I think what we see is the abstract nature of the unconscious poking through (which S and N does not affect) and it appears to be "intuitive." von Franz mostly described the negative relationship to the anima/animus and how it goes awry.

    Jung's Typology by by Marie Louise von Franz and James Hillman, A Review by Bobby Matherne
    Three-Dimensional Villains: Finding Your Character Shadow

  3. #3
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    I still have some concerns...

    I mean, no one "categorizes" the objects within their writing as they write, they just take bits and pieces of ideas that come to mind. It could be expressing functions, it could just be a pastiche of real-life details that otherwise mean little.

    So how can we take a specific detail from a piece of writing (and note these are outside evaluators "scanning" the text for details that are important to THEM... not necessarily to the writer) and project whether the writer was using a primary/secondary or else a tertiary/inferior function? It's all seemingly based on hindsight of the author's type; otherwise, it's just conjecture.

    I mean, I do find myself as I get older moralizing and focusing on how people should treat each other (Fe) based on the agreed-up standards, and I have these longings for the conventional signs of love/consideration to be in my life (which is sort of confounding to me, my Ti is screaming, "What's happening to you? Why are you buying into convention?")... but I also have a deep nostalgia sense (Si) even while I always have to be moving forward and exploring new trails (Ne).

    So how do people get analyzed from the outside? How would they know whether a strong pattern is simply the primary coming out OR whether it's a developing shadow inferior being explored?

    (side track: starting to think about what we find mysterious and thus appealing, attraction is often based on the new and different and "other"... hence an almost erotic attraction to the anima/animus... but we're talking about writing not love so I'll stop right there for now.)
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  4. #4
    Member nightwatcher's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by proteanmix View Post
    Great topic!

    As far as writing goes, I got that from Marie Louise von Franz's book Psychotherapy. She was talking about how one of the ways she looks for the inferior and shadow with her analysands was to listen to them tell stories, read their writings, and analyze the pictures they drew. She said ITPs would draw pastels and watercolors of people dancing and singing (shadow Fe), ESPs tell these very mystical and obscure ghost stories (shadow Ni), EFJs would get critical and obsessive thoughts about the nature of things and themselves (shadow Ti), so on and so forth. The inferior can manifiest itself positively or negatively which typically casts how the shadow will manifest itself. You can have a positive relationship to your inferior, the gateway to the unconscious, or a negative.

    Jung's Typology by by Marie Louise von Franz and James Hillman, A Review by Bobby Matherne
    Three-Dimensional Villains: Finding Your Character Shadow
    It’s pure conjecture to type a writer or any kind of artist soley by their work. Von Franz’s shadow/inferior function theory seems properly compelling and mysterious on paper, with the writer and his or her unexplored depths and all that, but it doesn’t translate that neatly and consistantly into reality.

    I likewise don’t see fantasy/supernatural horror writers like Stephen King (as one of numerous examples) as ESPs or ISJs writing about their Ni/Ne shadows and demons, either. King is no S; if you know his bio he’s clearly INFP; Fi and Ne dominant, and this shows in most of his work as well. Overall I’d have to say I think the dominant functions tend to be those most reflected in a writer’s fiction, but you still need some bio to estimate the type of any artist.
    "Space was big, and the boys from Earth were awed despite themselves by the things they found there: but worse, their science was in a mess. Every race they met on their way through the Core had a star drive based on a different theory. All those theories worked, even when they ruled out one another’s basic assumptions. You could travel between the stars, it began to seem, by assuming anything.”

    —M. John Harrison, “Light”

  5. #5
    Senior Member edcoaching's Avatar
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    While I've only written nonfiction books, they come off as clearly NF, which is what I am. It'd be really, really hard to sustain the energy to write an entire book out of the inferior function (I've actually had to do it; it was called a dissertation )

    I know the types of a lot of writers since I teach workshops on type and writing (a great resource is Write from the Start by Ann Loomis, available from CAPT). Most definitely write content that flows from their dominant functions but...if we believe in a cause strongly enough, any of us can be sustained by our values to carry off something that is very much against our type.

    edcoaching (INFJ)

  6. #6
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    Research papers.....the bane of my existence!!! >.<*

    On a calmer note, I don't know about that, Hap. I think my writing varies from time to time, but I'm not so sure about writing out of Te.

  7. #7
    Oberon
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    Quote Originally Posted by edcoaching View Post
    I know the types of a lot of writers since I teach workshops on type and writing (a great resource is Write from the Start by Ann Loomis, available from CAPT). Most definitely write content that flows from their dominant functions but...if we believe in a cause strongly enough, any of us can be sustained by our values to carry off something that is very much against our type.
    What would you say about an ENTP who was a career tech writer in industry?



    ...Seriously. I'm thinking I'm in the wrong career.

  8. #8
    Oberon
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    It's like writing short research papers all the time, one after another, on short deadlines.

  9. #9
    Earth Exalted Thursday's Avatar
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    I can relate
    i definitely write in an Se way.....with Ni glasses
    I N V I C T U S

  10. #10
    Senior Member edcoaching's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oberon View Post
    What would you say about an ENTP who was a career tech writer in industry?



    ...Seriously. I'm thinking I'm in the wrong career.
    I think the ENTP would be searching hard in some area of life for a creative outlet. If you like the people you work with/see the value in the product/do it well you can go a long way in any career, especially if you're writing that script or book proposal on the side or creating a volunteer program that gets NT dropouts off the street or anything else that feeds Ne. Probably half of what I write (and it's a major part of my career) doesn't really match INFJ but it supports the other stuff, it's ethical, and it gets published...
    edcoaching

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