Writing tips

Myers-Briggs personality test. www.cherylsterlingbooks.com

It’s #ThrowbackThursday, and we’re in the wayback machine to April, 2017 to learn more about the Myers-Briggs Personality Test

Create fictional characters for your book using the Myers-Briggs personality test. www.cherylsterlingbooks.com

Don’t have your characters act alike

The Myers-Briggs Personality Test, officially called Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, developed by Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers, it is a theory that there are sixteen major personality types based on eight factors:

Extraversion (E) or Introversion (I)—do you focus on the inner or outer world?

Sensing (S) or Intuition(N)—how you view information

Thinking (T) or Feeling(F)—how you make decisions

Judging(J) or Perceiving(P)—how you deal with the outside world

But, Cheryl, you ask, what does Myers-Briggs have to do with writing?

A great question. For the next two days, my posts for the AtoZChallenge will be on creating characters. One method I’ve used is taking the Myers-Briggs test as one of my characters. Once I have the results, I can look at what the characters have in common, and, more fun from a creative standpoint, how they differ.

Can I put an ENTJ (Commander) with an ISFP (Adverturer)? Will my hero ESFP (Entertainer) take orders from a heroine ISTJ (Logistician). Mixing and matching character types and having a blueprint for how they will react to events and situations helps in the writing process.

Take the test at 16Personalities.com. You might shed some light on your own personality and those around you.



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Keeping my writing organized is important, and I think I've found a system that works.

My latest attempt at keeping my writing organized.

I have three strikes against me when it comes to keeping my writing organized. Or maybe I have three things going for me.

  1. I’m the oldest of four.

For an in-depth look at how your birth order affects your character, go here for part 1, here for part 2, and here to buy the book I wrote on the subject.

Keeping my writing organized is important. I think I've found a system.

2.I’m a Leo. Per astrology.com, the “Leo-born are natural leaders.” We’re also ambitious and like to get things done.

3 .In Numerology, I’m a “4”, which are the builders. I follow step 1, 2, 3, 4 until I’ve completed the job. (Read my blog post on numerology here).

I have Pinterest boards on organization and time management.

I’m also lucky enough not to work every day, which—loosely translated—means I can write today. Or tomorrow. Or next week. Despite having an accountability partner (the wonderful Tricia Gunberg), I sometimes scramble at the last minute to get my goals completed and to her to review.

Needless to say ( but I’m saying it anyway), I needed a system. I was tired of not remembering tasks, punting, and letting things go because time had run out.

Continue reading Keeping My Writing Organized

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The opening hook raises questions, piques curiosity, and draws the reader deeper into your story.

The Opening Hook

The following is an excerpt from my book, The Plot Thickens: 21 Ways to Plot Your Novel. A link to buy can be found here. The first chapter addresses the importance of writing the opening hook.

The opening hook raises questions, piques curiosity, and draws the reader deeper into your story.

How to Take the Headache Out of Starting Your Book

STOP STARING at that blinking curser and start your book. How? With a mind-blowing opening hook.

Even if you’re new to writing, you know the importance of the opening hook. It grabs your reader’s attention and convinces him to buy.

The opening hook raises questions, piques curiosity, and draws the reader deeper into your story.Click To Tweet

Without a compelling, question-producing opening, they aren’t going to read further. You have a few sentences to make an impression. Nowadays, no one has the luxury of time. You have to hit them fast and hard.

Your reader wants to be drawn into a believable world from word one. He expects to be entertained. Don’t disappoint him. Skip the protagonist sitting with a cup of coffee, contemplating the letter she received from dear Aunt Sally. Jump her right into the story—Aunt Sally died, but collecting the inheritance means quitting the job your protagonist loves and moving back to the town that gave her heartache.

Conversely, don’t plunge the reader so quickly into the story with a one-line exclamation from the protagonist. The reader has no context in which to place it. It’s a cheap device that’s been overused.

Instead, start where the protagonist’s problem begins, raise questions that intrigue the reader, and filter in back-story later.

What is a hook? It’s a device to catch the reader’s attention and pull him into the story.

A hook prepares the reader for what’s ahead—the immediate future of a character and introduces the conflict. It sets the mood and style and gives the setting—all the elements of who, what, why, when, where and how.

Continue reading How to Take the Headache Out of Starting Your Book—The Opening Hook

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