Monday, October 29, 2012

Does Your Personality Type Influence Your Writing Skills?

Book 1 of the Italian Medieval series
By Jannine Corti-Petska

When Cristiano de' Medici asks for Bianca degli Albizzi's hand in marriage, she is outraged. Cristiano's family has long been a sworn enemy, and her father's blessing confuses her. Wed only to end the war between Florence's two powerful families, headstrong Bianca vows she will teach her handsome husband her loyalty cannot be bought...even by someone so seductive. 

Cristiano, a well-known warrior with the wealth of a king, could have any woman he desires. But for the sake of peace, he ends up with a defiant bride who awakens his deepest passion. Her vengeful scheming puts them both in peril, but is he willing to sacrifice his life to safeguard the woman he loves?


Between the Pages thanks Author Jannine Corti Petska for this informative guest blog.

Does Personality Type Play an Important Role?
By J. Corti Petska

As writers, we call on the unexpected to help create believable characters. Much of what we experience in our lives shapes the emotions and personalities of our heroes and heroines. But does our own personality type prevent us from fully understanding the range of emotions and psychological patterns that we either have never experienced or simply cannot comprehend? You've heard of Type A (impatient, achievement-oriented) and Type B (easy-going, relaxed) personalities. Do they influence our writing? Does our vivid imagination supersede our personality type? What happens if you are a little of both types?

We all have a dominant type. For me, it's Type A.* But there's more to your personality than being either A or B. There are also these four functions: sensing and intuition and thinking and feeling. The first group gathers information. Carl Jung labeled them as "irrational and perceiving." The second involves decision making. He refers to them as "rational, judging." Then there are the extravert and the introvert, which Jung called "attitudes." According to Jung, the extravert draws "energy from action: they tend to act, then reflect, then act further." The introvert expends "energy through action: they prefer to reflect, then act, then reflect again.

I discovered that I'm a mixed bag of extravert and introvert. I'm also the intuitive and feeling type. What this boils down to is, when I'm writing, I work my strengths as well as my weaknesses into each of my characters, whether hero, heroine, secondary characters, or villain.  I was surprised to learn my alpha heroes are introverts. They need their own territory, appear reserved, quiet and thoughtful, don't have many friends, don't care for the unexpected visitor, and prefers to work alone.

The four functions are broken down into eight psychological types:

Extraverted sensations
Introverted sensations
Extraverted intuition
Introverted intuition
Extraverted thinking
Introverted thinking
Extraverted feeling
Introverted feeling

These are broken down further. In all, there are 16 personality types. Google the subject. You might be surprised by what you find.

So, to answer my own question, yes, I think our personality types play an important role in shaping our characters and their emotions. Life's experiences add that extra believability. I had never thought about all of the above before. Usually, when I decide on a hero and heroine, I consult the Chinese Zodiac for a start. The rest, apparently, comes from my personality type with my life's experiences thrown in. 

*While I was researching this article, I came across an interesting tidbit. A study has proven that Type A personalities are "more likely to develop personality disorders." However, Type B personalities are "more likely to become alcoholics." I believe writers have personality disorders because of all the characters speaking to them in their heads. A psychiatrist asked me if I hear voices. Of course, I couldn't lie, and I said yes. LOL, I quickly explained, but to her, hearing voices was just that. I don't think she understood the mind of a writer.

Lynda's Review of DANTE'S FLAME by Jannine Corti Petska:

Dante's Flame is the third book in Corti-Petska’s Italian medieval series. It's set in Naples during the 15th century. 

Not having read the first two books in this series, I have nothing to compare it with. However, after reading this lively story, I'm now determined to add the first two books to my reading stash.

Allessandra is just the troublesome type of heroine I enjoy. She finds and starts enough trouble to keep all the men in her circle on their toes and at the end of their proverbial 'ropes'.  First, her father gets her out of his hair by sending her to Naples to stay with her cousin. It doesn't take long before her cousin is ready to marry her off just to get rid of her. Here is where Dante Santangelo comes in to Allessandra's life. He's not that interested in her, but because of his own agenda, he's spying for the French, he's willing to marry her to infiltrate her family. This starts a fun and rambunctious read. It's apparent throughout the story that the author has done a great deal of research and layers these detail throughout, giving an authentic flavor to the plot. The pacing is brisk and kept my interest. I'm happy to give this Four Stars!



  1. I absolutely believe that the author's personality influences their characters. Great post.

  2. Good post. I know my personality influences my characters. When a crit partner is amazed at something one of my characters does, I'm always surprised because to me it seems normal. Two different personality types. And, as writers, if we didn't have voices in our heads, we wouldn't get any stories


    1. Those darn voices, lol.

      Thanks for commenting, Colleen.

  3. Interesting topic. Grats on the review! Can't wait to read this in December.

  4. Hi Jannine,
    Great blog. I think you are absolutely right, our own personalities do come out in our characters, no matter how hard we try not to let it happen.



  5. I definitely think bits of our personalities come out in our characters...

    Congratulations on the release and the great review Jannine!

    Lisa :)

  6. Personality is so much fun. When you have a chance study the enneagram. Laurie Schnebly Campbell teaches it for authors
    Did you ever hear that every characters has something of the author?


    1. Amber, thank you for the info. I'll be sure to check out Laurie's class.

      Yes, I have heard that every charater has a bit of the auther in him or her.

  7. Very interesting. Someone just asked me how I can write romance when I've been single for so long! I told him I live vicariously through my couples.

    Seriously though, it's hard for me sometimes, because I'm not terribly expressive emotionally, or romantic, and I do think these are important elements to incorporate into romances.