Posts tagged: Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Test

Rewrite Your Draft Novel: Turn a 240,000 Word Monster into a Tidy 100,000 Word Manuscript! Part 2

Here’s a conversation between me and my editor:

Sandy: I just started the rewrite of Mogollon, and counted the words in its multitudinous files. 240K words. Arggh! I thought I had it half rewritten.  Any tips?

Melanie Rigney (Editor for You): Yes

1.   Identify your protagonist.

2.   Identify where he/she is at the beginning of the book… and where you want him/her to be at the end.

3.   Identify the crisis/turning points in the book that the protagonist faces (and wins or loses) within the   book.

4.   Identify the antagonist, what or who is keeping the protagonist from getting what he or she wants.

5.    Consider all your secondary and tertiary characters. If their subplot does not tie into the ultimate and satisfying ending, cut them and the subplot. (Remember Mme. Mercier’s life story [which appears in my new sci-fi that Melanie just edited], and how much better Angel [the sci-fi manuscript] read once it was gone?)

A good way to do this is to use a Post-It to record the action and purpose of each scene. If the scene doesn’t drive the action forward, cut it.

Hope that helps!

This is why I use professional editors. They can give you clear, concise advice like this. This is different than going to your writing group, passing your work by your writer friends, or your blog buddies. Melanie (and many other real pros) will do the same to your manuscript. Slash and burn, I call it. Painful, but necessary.

In previous posts, I’ve talked about Jungian type and writing. I don’t know Melanie’s Jungian type, but from the sample of her writing above and what I’ve seen of her work, I’d say she’s a thinking type.

Notice the spare, clear, logical use of words. Tight. Thinking type.

I can do this. I can. I will. I just have to open the file and get to work. Now.

Rewrite Your Draft Novel: Do You Have Permission to Begin? PART 1

Numenon: A Tale of Mysticism & Money

Numenon: A Tale of Mysticism & Money. Mogollon, Numenon's sequel is coming. As soon as I rewrite it.

When my editor sent me a succinct five-step formula for reducing my monstrous 240,000 word draft of a novel to a crisp 100,000 words, I had an “Ahah!” moment. Why not blog it? Perfect. Share my travail with the world. Get a sense of accountability because other people were traveling along with me, hoping to learn something. Cheering me on. (Yes, it’s OK to post comments, as long as they’re not spam. Encouragement is encouraged!)

I’m going to post that short and snappy recipe for literary success next time. Something more important rammed its way into my mental queue: This article.

I wasn’t ready to write or rewrite anything. I felt awful; something was jammed inside me, right under my ribs. It felt like a garden hose. A coiled garden hose. Worse than that: It was a coiled garden hose dripping with Tabasco sauce.

I’d been working like crazy. I wrote on various on-line forums, and then posted three articles on These are not easy to write, by the way, especially the one on Jungian type for writers.

I wondered, “Why am I doing this? This is important information, but will anyone take the time to read it?” I always add pictures when I feel that way.

Because of the time spent hunched before my computer, my shoulders were in their “I’ve turned to stone” phase. Rather like the vampires Stephenie Meyers describes, but without the glamor.

When I feel like this, I go up to my room, throw the wedge-shaped foam thing my surgeon gave me to keep my ankle from ballooning on my bed, and hit “play” on my favorite chant CD. I lie there and forty-five minutes later, after having relaxed and allowed whatever’s bothering me to surface, I get up feeling like a human being again.

This is a key point. Bazillions of how-to-write books exist. Tons of authors, editors, book doctors, and writing coaches will tell you how to write the breakout novel, how to self edit, and succeed in competitive and frustrating publishing world. Systems, how-to lists, point after point to be mastered.

I will not do this. I’ll tell you how I do it. Whether I’m writing bloody, rockin’ sci-fi, a memoir, or about the richest man in the world, my overarching topic is spirituality.

Spirituality is about spirit, defined as “a vital force that characterizes a living being as being alive.” Spirit is the difference between a living person and a dead body. To write about spirit, you have to know about your spirit––the only one you can really know––and get down past the Twinkies and junk food existence of daily life into the real stuff. Here we go:

The first question to ask before writing or rewriting anything is: Am I the person to write this book? And––Do I have permission to write this book?

There I was yesterday afternoon, lying on my bed, leg with its fused ankle and replaced knee elevated, listening to perhaps the most moving, beautiful music in existence, especially if you like Sanskrit. I had a heating pad under my shoulders to defrost them, and clutched my blankie and stuffed teddy. (Might as well give the full picture.)

Usually I go through a period of moderately severe discomfort as I relax from my initial, frozen skunk state into meditative bliss. (This is normal for spiritual practice.)  Yesterday was different.

I went from a having a Tabasco coated garden hose in my gut to extreme grief. I hovered in the driven state my compulsive writing had created in me, waiting for my mind to relax and get some relief. All the time a gorgeous chant was swelling and receding.

I relaxed enough to be at the floating state right before the good stuff comes––insight, bliss, contact with other worlds. Departed people.

My brother as a child

My brother as a child

My brother’s face came to me. My brother was a beautiful man, more than movie star handsome with eyes so bright blue that they seemed like some Hollywood make-up person had inserted them.

I loved him from the moment I saw him. He was three days old; I was nine. I loved him, even though our age differences put us in different realms. (He was learning to walk when I was thinking, “When will they let me have a horse?”)

I teased him mercilessly and adored him. I watched him and knew everything that happened to him. The two of us were the only ones who knew what really happened.

We lived in a family system where no one won. My brother lost more heavily than any.

He died in October 2007 at the age of 54. He was as beautiful in death as he was in life.

That’s what came up when I did my curative meditation lie-down. Grief. Images of him at different ages floated above me. He visited me, my beautiful departed brother.

I discovered what really hurts about losing someone. It’s what wasn’t said and what didn’t happen. I never told my brother, in clear words, so he could hear and understand them, how much I loved him. What he meant to me, and that I knew what happened. I never said that I tried as hard as I could, and I couldn’t fix our situation. I couldn’t fix it, and I couldn’t be enough of a hero to make it right. I was over my head and powerless.

Grief came to me, the true face of my discomfort. Primal pain.

That’s why I couldn’t begin my rewrite:  The coiled hose was a load of unfelt feelings. My first editor once said, “How can you not feel feelings?” It’s easy. In graduate school, we had to memorize two single-spaced pages of defense mechanisms we humans create to avoid feeling what we feel. They’re what keep us shallow and inauthentic.

Stephen Levine, regarded by many as the foremost grief counselor in the country, says, “We live in an ocean of pain.” All of us have endured great loss. Some of us have endured great losses: We’ve been napalmed, lost limbs, sight, homes, and whole families in war or genocide.  The rest of us know the losses that all of us endure: the deaths of beloved family members, jobs, security, and trust.  Beneath these is the cry of the universe, the cry of universal pain that we feel when we read works by Khaled Husseini (author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns) and others.

We live in an ocean of grief.

I floated in that ocean yesterday afternoon, my mantra singing around me, the afternoon light playing through the windows. I came to know the rest of Stephen Levine’s message: We live in an ocean of grief. The only way to survive is to experience the grief and then feel the love of the universe, the infinite, intelligent, blissful love that upholds us and is our ultimate home. It’s larger than grief.

I felt that, too. It released my grief. I lay weeping for a few minutes when the CD ended and then got up, knowing I was almost fit to write.

My first meditation master said that he never began any large task without waiting for permission from his meditation master. OK. My master died in 1982; his master died in the 1960s. We’re talking metaphorical here, not like a permission slip from your mother. My meditation master didn’t proceed until he received inner permission to begin his quest.

Do you ever ask: Do I have permission to write what I’m going to write? From my deepest self, and the universe?  Those are the ones that matter.  Your publisher and agent are important, if you’ve got them, but its this inner permission that will allow you to reach material that is WORTH writing, not the drivel that fills the shelves. It will allow you to write what you really want to write.

Do you know what it feels like to have that permission? I feel it like the floodgates on a dam. If I’m not in harmony with my larger world, if I’m trying to write without permission, the gates are closed, shut tight. A trickle escapes, maybe. It has that rock hard feeling of a hose under my solar plexus.

Permission granted: Gates open wide. Living water flows directly from its source, a vast
creative wellspring. I can’t stop writing––or rewriting––and every word rings true.

I don’t have permission to begin rewriting Mogollon, yet. I have permission to write this for you. Clear, clean, and short, for me. Permission to begin the rewrite is coming.

We live in the material universe lost in our own concerns, living like mindless drones in an anthill. We never look up to see that we live at the base of a mountain rising into the sky. A mountain that touches the moon, surrounded by substance that could carry us into a world beyond all that we can imagine.

Ants read how-to books. Writers work from the ocean of love.

My brother and I in the 1970s. We loved each other to the bone.

My brother and I in the 1970s. We loved each other to the bone.

Jungian Type for Writers: What Writers Must Know about Personality Types

Amore et Psyche

Amore et Psyche––Desire and the soul. Today, we'll talk about psyche, the soul.

Personality type may seem an abstract and unnecessary thing for writers to be concerned about. Shouldn’t we be polishing our prose with our writing groups and editors, instead of worrying about our psychological types?

No. Personality type is something writers must know, in addition to how to construct a killer novel and get it sold. Why?

1. You have a personality type whether you know it or not, and whether you care about it or not.

2. Your personality type is intrinsic to who you are and expresses in your writing, as your writing.

3. Your readers also have personality types. Their reading preferences are shaped by their personality types.

4. The wise writer knows this and adjusts his or her writing style to appeal to as broad a spectrum of reader tastes as possible.

I read Irene Watson’s initial guest blog with great interest. She’s writing about Jungian type. When I ran into Carl Jung’s theory of personality type in graduate school, I was electrified. I recognized it as life changing information. Let me add my two cents to what Irene provided.

How did Jung come up with his theory of personality type? The great Swiss psychologist, Carl G. Jung, was puzzled by the radical differences between the ways he and his buddies thought. Who were his buddies? Sigmund Freud and Alfred Adler, giants in the history of psychology, like Jung.

How could three powerful, brilliant, and visionary minds see the world and human personality so differently?

Jung’s typology is his explanation. The theory is quite complex, but it’s practical importance is simple. What’s the bottom line to Jung’s theory?


Yes, I know, Steve Jobs claimed those words for an Apple sales pitch, but it’s true. If we’re going to succeed in the world, we need to REALLY GET THAT PEOPLE LIVE IN DIFFERENT PERCEPTUAL UNIVERSES.

As authors, we must bridge those worlds if we want to reach our readers. We’d better start with knowing which type we are, if we’re going to be marketing our writing to the right audience. Here’s a web site where you can take a test to determine your personality type.

A good reference

A good reference

What is Jungian Personality Type?

Jung came up with four basic types of personality. Two of these are rational––the thinking and feeling types. By rational, I mean operating according to an internal set of rules. These may be logical (in the thinking type), or based on internal emotional values (the feeling type.)

The other two types, intuitive and sensate, are irrational; they don’t conform to an internal value or thought system. (Each of these types also operate in an introverted or extroverted way. I’ll skip this for brevity.)

Jung said that children can be observed preferring a type early on, perhaps around age five. One child may become an academic success, be praised for it, and develop into a thinking type. Another child may have success in sports and literally run with that––develop as a sensate.

Everyone has all four functions, even it they prefer one. We have the four functions because we need them to survive as human beings. We need to be able to think logically, as well as know how we feel emotionally, and know the emotional states of people around us. We must be aware of intuitions and guidance from the larger universe. We have to be able to control our bodies and master the physical world.

Our dominant psychological function acts like a team captain. It’s like our dominant hand––we know how to use it and do use it most. But because we can’t do everything with one hand, we develop our other hand, and the rest of our body.

Similarly, we must develop our non-dominant psychological functions.  They provide backup when we need them, like a non-dominant hand. The functions we develop as backups are those on either side of our dominant function on the chart above. A thinker is likely to be a pretty good sensate and intuitive, but clueless about feelings, his own and those of others.

The inferior function is opposite of our primary type. It’s too far from what we do best to really shine. It remains in the shadow, aced out by the big brothers who run the show. The inferior function is sort of like the elbow of the personality. What can you do using one elbow? Still, you need it. You have it.

WHY DO WRITERS NEED TO KNOW THIS? The way we write is influenced by our personality type. Let’s spend some time looking at each type.

THINKING TYPE: Thinking types orientate themselves in the world by thoughts and facts, right and wrong, intellectual models and systems. They operate on principles and logic. These can be wrong––lousy thinking and bad logic––but the thinking type will cling to them. Thinking types have trouble expressing personal feelings and appear relatively cold and unemotional.  Historic figures: Sigmund Freud (Jung’s buddy!), Franklin D. Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson, Albert Einstein, Bill Gates & Richard Nixon. (Thinking can be good or bad. Source: WHAT DO THEY LIKE TO READ? Material that reflects their interests: Logical, fact driven content, intellectual puzzles, maybe intellectual thrillers. Pared down writing with no fluff.

Sigmund Freud, whose personality inspired part of Jung's typology.  Sigmund Freud, shown here reading the print version of,
is a classic thinking type.

SENSATE: Sensates orientate themselves by data from the world around them. They are concerned with power in the highest way: If what’s real to you is the physical world, controlling as much of it as you can makes sense. Practical, realistic, confident, & active. Adaptable. Athletes and sports heroes are likely to be sensates. Historic sensates: Alfred Adler, known for his personality theory stressing “will to power” and one of Jung’s buddies. WHAT DO THEY LIKE TO READ: Stuff about the real world, power, politics, action, sports. Here’s your thriller market.

Alfred Adler

Alfred Adler

FEELING TYPE: The feeling type orientates himself by emotional responses tied to personal values. The feeling type is in touch with his or her emotional state and very aware of the emotional states of those around him. Interested in people, feelings, love, passion. They are not hysterics or fountains of feeling. Feeling types are so skilled at handling their feelings that they may appear cold. WHAT DO THEY READ: This is the women’s lit, chick lit, romance market. Can also be higher toned literature on feeling/people related themes. Maeve Binchy would fall  here.

INTUITIVE TYPE: Intuitives have a vision. They are tuned in to a world beyond the physical and draw strength and comfort from it. They can express their intuitions and visions to others and enlist them as to carry them out. Intuitives are charismatic, charming, interested in people and solving problems of others and the planet. Introverted intuitives can be religious leaders. Extroverted intuitives can be excellent business, picking up on currents of change that others miss. Historic Intuitives: Carl Jung, Jesus Christ, and Adolf Hitler. (The intuitive’s vision  doesn’t have to be correct.) I would say that Steve Jobs shows up here, an extroverted intuitive. WHAT DO THEY READ? The Bible and other sacred texts, books about saints and spiritual experience, The Da Vinci Code, spiritually themed material. Stuff about their area of intuition. My books, Numenon & Stepping Off the Edge, are perfect books for intuitives, written by an intuitive.

Carl Jung on the cover of C. G. Jung's Psyholog of religion & Sunchronicty, R. Aziz

Carl Jung

Not only do the personality types behave very differently, they WRITE DIFFERENTLY and READ DIFFERENTLY. I’ll try and find or mock up what theses writing styles are like in a later post.

What’s the distribution of these types across the population? This is what’s important for writers.

The link above takes you to a site displaying a distribution of people across the various personality types. I tried to find good numerical data for the typology; this was the best I could do. I’m assuming it’s based on the test results on the site. (The site itself warns that the estimates are not necessarily correct. Not only that, like so many sites I looked at, they’ve changed Jung’s terminology to suit themselves. Swell.)

WHAT DO THE DATA SHOW? The incidence of thinking types (Intellectuals) is only 10% of the surveyed population. Intuitives (Visionaries) make up only 11.5%. Two small, diverse groups making up only 21.5% of the population, thinkers and intuitives represent small market shares. (Caveat: If these two groups read many more books than their share of the population, they may represent a larger market share. So where do we find statistics on book sales by Jungian type to prove or disprove this?)

The combined feeling types and sensates (Protectors & Creators on the linked chart, though Lord knows which is which according to Jung’s terminology) make up a whooping 78.5% of the population. I can’t tell from the site providing the data which are the sensate and feeling types, but if these numbers are anywhere near right, they mean that the LARGEST WRITING MARKETS by a long shot are among sensates & feeling types.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO WRITERS? It means that if you’re a sensate or feeling type, count your lucky stars. A huge market exists in your type, and you’ll be able to write for them easily, because you’re writing for yourself, essentially.

If you’re an intuitive or thinking type, you’re probably looking at a small market if you write the way your personality type indicates. That means you’re going to have to learn to build bridges to the other types to increase your market share and sales. Best to do this by studying this material carefully. What you’ll need to do is inherent in the definition of your type and the types you’re trying to write for: cut it back, fluff it up, subtract or add feelings, put in action. Do what your editor says.

Here’s one example: I was riveted to read Irene Watson’s article on personality type. Why? Because she describes me and my writing perfectly. I am an intuitive.

You’d guess this by the fact that I’ve written a book on spiritual practice and have launched a series about a great native shaman meeting the richest man in the world. (Numenon is an exercise in Jungian typology, which readers may recognize after reading this article. What Jungian types do the main characters represent?)

Numenon: A Tale of Mysticism & Money

Numenon: A Tale of Mysticism & Money. A book written by an intuitive.

So what did Irene Watson say about the writing of intuitives? “Intuitive people can relate to stories.  The more fluff, descriptive scenes, and full character development, the better they can relate to and enjoy the story.  They are emotional and empathetic.” Irene Watson

I love stories. Life lessons. Stories about people. I love my characters and want to know how their lives work out––every friggin’ one of them. Did you know that 4,000 people are attending the Meeting, the fictional retreat in my series? I fell in love with many of them, to the extent of writing a 240,000 word sequel to Numenon.

It pains me to realize that readers may not be interested in the details of cleaning horses’ feet the natural way.

I’m an intuitive, writing as an intuitive. When I discovered that only 11.5% of the population are intuitives, I was troubled. I also understand my editor more. “Cut it! Just cut it! Delete! Delete!”

If I were a sensate or a feeling type, all would be cool. I’d whip out the romances or thrillers, no sweat. (OK, sweat. All writing is hard.)

That’s it. Read and apply! My next blogging task will be to blog the rewrite of Mogollon, the monster sequel to Numenon. I want you to feel my pain. And joy!

Until the next post, Sandy

Sandy Nathan, award winning author of Numenon & Stepping Off the Edge

Sandy Nathan, award winning author of Numenon & Stepping Off the Edge

The disclaimers: Before you fall in love with Jungian Typology, I need to warn you that some theorists think it’s bogus. Jung wrote a while ago, and things change. Some theorists say, “Nice try, Carl, but right brain/left brain research makes you obsolete.” Other modern writers go, “Well, it’s still useful, conceptually.”

Then we have the dudes and dudettes who’ve changed the terms to market it. Somebody did up Jungian type into a management tool, with different names for the players. Sold it for $$$. And, as we’ve seen above, they’ve changed the types’ names. Why? The originals were good.

So, while I’ve provided links throughout, I don’t recommend or endorse the sites they go to. The concepts are very cool. They can be applied all over, especially to marriage partners and understanding the problems of getting along with others.

We need to know our types and that the way we think REALLY, REALLY is different than the modus operandi of the other types. That’s the message here.


C. G. Jung (1921) Psychological Types, Chapter X General Description of the Types In Jung’s own words.

The Meyers & Brigs Foundation, where the MBTI Instrument (test) was developed and can be given. Good info. “The most detailed personality assessment on the Internet”. OK. This page gives you famous people, fictional characters, and the frequency of personality types. Also good career choices for each type. Good data. No clue if test is free or not???

PersonalityPathways: Exploring Personality Type & Its Applications Good site with link for test. Charming name, lots of info about personality types from Ezekiel, Hippocrates, Jung, to Myers

Another Jungian type test.

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