The Intuitive Writer

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Here are the benefits of Intuitive writers (INFP, INTP, INFJ, INTJ)!

N’s are dreamers, not realists. We’re continually in search of new ideas and information! What better playground for an Intuitive than their own mind… a place where they can create and explore limitless possibilities, plot and rationalize out behaviors, situations, and characters, organize and control the storyline?

Here are some of the awesome things about Intuitive writers:

They’ve already anticipated your guesses.

Intuitives figure out Agatha Christie novels a hundred pages before anyone else does, because they just “know” who did it, without any supporting evidence. As authors, they’ll want to surprise their audience if they can.

They know what they hate in fiction, and try to avoid it.

If you’ve heard them complain about the clichés in Downton Abbey, don’t expect them to duplicate those clichés in their book. Expect them to turn clichés on their head or avoid them entirely. Don’t expect “love at first sight,” either.

You won’t be able to unravel their entire plot with one question.

As Rationals, they’ll sit down and figure out all the logical ways their main character could get out of this or that situation and then address them all, so there are no glaring plot holes to the extent of “… why didn’t he just unplug the television?”*

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Their world will be grounded in reality…

… even if it’s a fantasy world. There will be logic, governing rules, and consistency in characters.

Their novels will usually say something.

They have a greater vision for their work, or they wouldn’t have put the effort into writing it in the first place. INT’s in particular have very little patience for things which serve no purpose—that includes their own writing, and the book itself.

They pull no punches.

They will ask hard questions and not give easy answers. They will show that life isn’t black and white, but exists in shades of gray. They will build up characters for you to love and introduce flaws to them, to cause you to question your own motivations. They will tackle tough and even taboo topics, because they think these things deserve to be discussed, and sometimes take characters you love away from you.

They won’t force themselves on you.

As Introverts, they will respect you as a reader. They will value the time you have given to them. They will make their point as briefly as possible. They will not over-promote themselves or become a nuisance.

(An unfortunate byproduct of this is we won’t sell as many books… darn it.)

Anyone can be a writer… introvert, extrovert, intuitive, sensor, thinker, feeler, perceiver or judger. All it takes is a bit of imagination and pen.

* That was a smart-alek question I asked an author in an e-mail when I was twelve. I caught him off guard, because he hadn’t thought of that and so, I kind of… unraveled his entire plot. Oops.

41 Replies to “The Intuitive Writer”

  1. The best compliment I’ve ever gotten on any of my stories- “I did not see that coming.” GOOSEBUMPS, man. GOOSEBUMPS. Good post.

    1. That’s cool! I recently had a review on one of my books where someone said I constantly surprised them with where I took my plot. I enjoyed that. I’m always thinking ahead while writing and wondering, “What wouldn’t be anticipated by an avid reader?”

  2. As an INTJ author, I love this. To me there’s nothing like exploring a new story world and it’s characters, or discovering the convoluted back story of a character you’ve been writing about for months and realize, what you’ve already written about their present fits in with their past. 😛 I hate plot holes and love creative, logical plots and multi-layered characters. Whoever told you INTJs can’t write must have been smoking something. Several of my writer friends are INTJs as well and they are excellent at their craft, two of them are among the best young authors I know.

    1. I sometimes fret over all the details that go into writing a book, and then what you’ve described happens to me — I realize I don’t have to consciously “think” and “plan,” so much as let the story unfold naturally. Intuitives may not even realize what they’re actually writing about until it happens.

  3. Great post Charity! It’s interesting because some of these points really do describe the writing project I’m working on right now. I mean, I can describe the premise of my story in one sentence but it doesn’t quite capture all of the elements that’s going on (or that I hope will be clear to readers).

    Also, and I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned this before, but hmph at whoever said INTJs can’t write fiction =P

  4. The only “angle” from which INTJs being less creative would (maybe) make sense, is that _NFJs, for instance, being more emotional, might be more like to give in and allow their passions to take them on even WILDER flights of fancy than NTJs?

    However, this could arguably be a disadvantage–because the ideas might be a bit more far-fetched, inconsistent, and unusable. Difficult to “translate” into a coherent narrative. Especially when it comes to hammering out consistent “laws” for their fantasyverse.

    Now I confess I am both quite and indignant and curious–whoever told you that INTJs couldn’t write fiction? I mean, if they want to argue it’s less probable that most INTJs would choose fiction writing vs the other, more “intellectual” pursuits sometimes associated with NTs–fine. But to say it’s…impossible? That no INTJ, regardless of desire or experience or talent, could produce a worthy work of fiction? Rot!

    But–I really don’t need to say anything on the subject do I? None of the other commenters do either–because you’re doing a superb job of proving them wrong 😉 Keep up the amazing stories.

    PS
    Your friends shamelessly promoting your books without you asking? * cough * Totally hasn’t happened 😉

    PSPS
    I actually wish there were some sort of site dedicated to little known, self-published Christian authors. With reviews of promising novels. I think part of the problem is that unless you know the author, or a friend of a friend, one never HEARS of these novels in the first place. Then there’s the fact that people are reluctant to spend time or money on an unknown author. Don’t even get me started on how hard the lot of the Christian filmmakers and musicians is as well…

    1. T’was suggested to me awhile back that since I’m a novelist, I’m probably an INFJ instead of an INTJ. I’ve never quite got over it. 😉

      Thank you for shamelessly promoting me. It saves me the humiliation of asking directly.

      That would be nice, wouldn’t it? I’d kind of like to have Femnista do that service in a sense — I’ve got A.G. Porter writing for me now, a nice little indie author who writes supernatural-esque Christian fiction. Perhaps eventually my website can be some sort of hub. 🙂

  5. Unraveling an entire plot with just one question? You would never do that! 😉

    It feels like the illogical side of Dredd where he should have used his stun gun. I’m telling you, the guy was smart enough to figure that out, but the writers were idiots. This makes me suspect Julianna Deering of being an INTJ because she turned a ton of cliches upside down in her book and ended up surprising me.

    1. Who me? Never! 😉

      It’s possible. INTJ writers tend to either surprise you or rip on the world at large (which is why people suspect Jane Austen of being one — her stories are satires!).

  6. I don’t know nearly as much as you do about the different personality types, but that’s nonsense that one or the other can’t write fiction. No matter where you fall on the scale, everyone has an imagination, and if you feel the compulsion to write, then you’ll write. Sure, different personality types may write differently, but that’s the beauty of it. It’d be boring if we were all the same and told the same kinds of stories.

    P. S. That is awesome that you wrote to the author and asked that question. Who did you write to?

    1. I know, right?

      Sometimes, I wonder if you can tell the dominant function of a writer by WHAT they write. Are Intuitive authors going to have more fantastical worlds? Will Sensors be more focused on how things look, smell, and taste? Hmm…

      Heh. It was Ted Dekker.

      1. “Will Sensors be more focused on how things look, smell, and taste?”
        I know that I frequently forget to discuss those subjects in my writing. I’ll tell how something looks, but I’ll forget to tell how it smells or if there should be music playing or the murmur of the crowd or something.

        1. I worry more about having my characters seem “cold” because you don’t usually hear their internal thoughts… but so far no one has complained. *chews fingernails*

          1. I think it’s all a matter of taste. I used to do more internal dialogue until I realized that often when reading, I skip over large chunks of that. So now I try and show their thoughts through their actions instead of internal debate. The problem, though, is that it might seem cold and impersonal that way… so I do fret about that at times.

      2. I had to look him up online because I’ve never heard of him. Other than his obvious flaws (and did he take your criticism well?), is he any good?

          1. I’ll have to try him again. I read a few Peretti novels years ago, but don’t really remember much about them.

          2. Peretti loves supernatural fiction — angels, demons, that sort of thing. I grew up on “This Present Darkness.” Dekker is talented too, but I don’t always like his endings. (One book in particular had a lot of build-up and then no payoff.) I guess they wrote one novel together but I haven’t read it.

        1. I’m about eyeball deep in OCD’ing over my latest book, so if I didn’t write this post you would have either gotten a lot of historical information that only matters to moi or nothing at all. 😉

  7. I love this post. As an INTJ writer, I’m big into writing about shades of gray in people, saying things in as few words as possible, and finishing what I start. It’s a creative process, but at least for me, it’s also a logical process of analyzing characters and what they’ll do in any given situation.

    1. Shades of gray make characters realistic. As Sirius Black would say, “The world isn’t split into good people and Death Eaters. All of us have both light and dark inside.” I love a good, well-rounded character. 🙂

  8. Great points. I’ve been told a few times that being an INTJ means I have no creativity, thus writing would be a bad career move. While I didn’t end up pursuing it professionally, I continue to write out of my love for exporting my imagination to paper, sometimes for others to enjoy, but often for me to enjoy at a later time.

    1. I really don’t understand the argument that INTJs have no creativity. True, when we’re very young we may not have a well-developed imagination and may base most of our stuff on things we’ve seen or read, but the older we get and the more we experience life, the more unique our ideas become. Even if we do “copycat,” we can usually put an incredible spin on it!

      Even though you didn’t pursue writing professionally, I’m glad you still do it. It’s a wonderful outlet for all those terrific ideas!

  9. Bwahahaha! I would have totally done something like that when I was twelve. I can totally sympathize with each of these points, and I hope that my books (whenever they get published) will be above reproach in the world-building and plot-executing categories. Plus, I have an INFP sister as my cowriter, so I think our fantasy novels will have a little more life and imagination than if I was the sole writer. 🙂

    1. I was… um… an interesting child, not always in touch with other people’s feelings. 😉

      The more you talk about your books, the more they intrigue me! I hope to read them someday! What is it like, having a Marianne Dashwood or Amy Dorrit as a writing partner? I bet she comes up with some really romantic ideas!

      (My readers shouldn’t expect an excess of gushy romance… I can sometimes go 300 pages without getting around to the mush. LOL)

      1. I would forgo all the romance, if I could, and keep all the political upheavals, magical machinations (which are intimately connected with the laws of physics, btw), and antagonists’ plots. However, Marie is an incurable romantic, so it stays. 🙂

        As for what it’s like writing with her, think of it this way: I’m the one who draws the coloring page, and she colors it in. I am the world builder, the one who makes sure the plot runs smoothly, and the basic outliner of the characters’ personalities: she handles most of the character interaction and fills in all the nitty gritty details about them.

        1. That is nicely put. 🙂

          Sometimes I wonder about my characters but my readers seem to like them, so I must do a good job of romanticism in spite of my self-doubt. Which is good, because unlike you, I don’t have Marie to help me! 😀

  10. “(An unfortunate byproduct of this is we won’t sell as many books… darn it.)”

    HA! Yes. Our purpose is to the tell the story and invite you in, not hit you over the head with something that is marketably tried and true to sell you a book.

    ~Joelle

    (P.S. Charity, I’m rejoining the world of blogging. My new blog is homemademythology.com I’d love if you checked it out when you had a moment.)

    1. Exactly. Our second method is secretly hoping that our friends like our books and will promote it for us, so it doesn’t look like we’re touting our own stuff. But since we’re so introverted and we hate admitting we need help, we usually don’t ask our friends to do this for us. Oh, well. Good books will sell themselves… eventually. 😉

      Yay! I’ve followed your blog and look forward to new posts. 🙂

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