Self-Defined

This week is all about personality type and how it informs our writing. I LOVE personality tests and may be a little too obsessed with putting both myself and other people into categories. It’s mostly just for fun, but I think personality type definitions can tell us a lot about ourselves, even if they aren’t scientifically accurate.

So here are a few of my favorites:

ISTJ

My Myers-Briggs type definitely fits with my writing style. I tend to approach my books in a very analytical way, with outlines and checklists. It’s hard for me to write honestly about my characters’ feelings, but I can concoct detailed murder plots all day long. Being a hardcore introvert is also pretty great for the actual writing part of writing. Lately, though, I’ve been trying to get more involved with the writing community, which means going to events and being *gasp* social. The more I put myself out there and meet other writers, the less anxious I feel about it, but being around people still totally drains my energy. I’m going to a bunch of conferences this year and already planning for all the self-care downtime I’ll need before, during, and after.

Upholder

My favorite personality test is Gretchen Rubin’s The Four Tendencies, which defines you based on how you respond to inner and outer expectations. I can safely say that learning about the Tendencies has changed my life and improved all my relationships, both personal and professional, for the better. My Tendency is Upholder, which means I respond readily to outer and inner expectations alike. This has served me well as my schedule has gotten busier and busier in the lead-up to my debut. To-do lists are my superpower – I live and die by my list, if something is on there I’ll almost certainly do it. Which can be good or bad: sometimes I end up wasting time doing things that aren’t crucial, just because I put them on the list. In order to make time to write, I have to be ruthless about prioritizing (and not procrastinating).

Slytherin

Speaking of ruthless… When I was young and naive, I thought I was a Ravenclaw, but a few years ago Pottermore sorted me into Slytherin and so much suddenly made sense. I am definitely ambitious – I think all authors have to be at least a little bit, to pursue publication in the first place – and many of the characters I write are on the cunning and ruthless side too. In fact Temper has almost an all-Slytherin cast (for those of you that have read it: Rob is the token Ravenclaw). I find it much easier to get into the minds and motivations of people who are prideful and scheming than people who are generally trying to do the right thing. If I ever do try to write a nice, well-meaning person, I’ll have to consult my Hufflepuff partner for advice cause that shit does not come naturally to me!

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Layne Fargo

Layne Fargo is a thriller author with a background in theater and library science. She’s a Pitch Wars mentor, a member of the Chicagoland chapter of Sisters in Crime, and the cocreator of the podcast Unlikeable Female Characters. Layne lives in Chicago with her partner and their pets.

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