Me personally, I’m a plot-first writer as opposed to a character-first writer. I usually come up with, what I think is a good title, and then have an idea for a beginning, an end, a twist, and then start outlining. Characters have always came second to the plot, basically because I suck at character development. However, I’m desperately trying to change this and hoping to even out my stories by understanding how to create unique/individualistic personalities within my writing. Most of the ‘How To’ books I’ve read tend to settle on the point of finding your characters core personality and then building upon that inner core. I came across a nice way of doing just that with a system called the Myers-Briggs. I believe it has helped me when I sit down and begin creating a new character. I hope it will do the same for you.
Myers-Briggs system assigns letters: Extrovert (E) or Introvert (I) Sensing (S) or Intuition (N) Thinking (T) or Feeling (F) Judgment (J) or Perception (P)
• INFP — Sees the world as full of wonder, as through rose-colored glasses; must have work that has a meaningful purpose; idealistic.
• ENFJ — Organized and decisive; works to build harmony in personal relationships; empathetic; sees potential in everyone.
• ISFJ — A serious observer of other people; overwhelming desire to serve others; often taken advantage of; responsible.
• ESTP — Tolerant and flexible; actions, not words; the doer, not the thinker; spontaneous; impulsive; competitive.
• INFJ — True activist for a worthy cause; good insights into other people; remembers specifics about people who are important to him.
• ESTJ — The person self-appointed to keep everyone in line; prefers facts to opinions; stays with the tried and true; practical.
•ENFP — Idea person; warm and enthusiastic; enjoys work that involves variety and experimentation.
• ISTJ — Quietly thorough and dependable; always seeking to clearly understand things; punctual to a fault; can seem cold.
• ESFJ — Generous entertainer; lover of holidays and special occasions; natural leader; good delegator; encourager; cooperative.
• ENTP — Ingenious; outspoken; easily bored by routine; challenges status quo; institutes change; clever; incisive.
• INTP — Obsessed with achieving logical consistency of thought; natural and creative scientist; looks for the logical explanation.
• ENTJ — Organizes groups to meet task-oriented goals; vision caster; always seems to find himself leading; spots inefficiencies and fixes them.
• INTJ — System builder; both imaginative and reliable; natural strategist; long-range planner; independent and original.
• ISTP — Doesn’t do something unless it’s a big project into which he can throw himself utterly; great “big problem” solver.
• ESFP — Exuberant; outgoing; a lover of life; hedonistic; partier; scattered; into things that are “new”; Johnny on the spot; chatty.
• ISFP — Sensitive; caring; all about feelings: his and other people’s; moody; quiet; kind; doesn’t like conflict; needs his own space.
Gerke, Jeff (2010-10-19). Plot Versus Character (p. 31). F+W Media, Inc.. Kindle Edition.