Believable Characters, Part 17

We’re down to the last three personality types. I found most of this information in Jeff Gerke’s Plot vs. Character and David Keirsey’s Please Understand Me II

The personality type on today’s docket is the ISTP, or introverted, sensory, thinking, perceiving. Keirsey calls her THE CRAFTER. Others call her “the Realist.” But no matter what you call her, she’s patient, data-oriented, logical, efficient, and tolerant. She’s best with a tool: microscopic drill, supersonic jet, giant crane, scalpel, any piece of equipment that she can play with. ISTP’s enjoy spontaneity, follow their own drummer, and should not be subject to rules, regulations, or laws. Hierarchy and authority are unnecessary and irksome to the crafter, as they get in the way. The ISTP must be free to do her own thing, when the urge strikes, without a schedule bothering them.

Crafter’s seek recreation on impulse, taking days off just because they feel like it. These urges to take off can be irresistible and overpowering, and no one had better try to stop them. They are fearless in their play, risking themselves for the joy of the moment. They are bored easily. They communicate through action, and can’t be bothered to develop verbal skills–and this lack of expressiveness makes them seem like loners. They’re happy hanging out with their tools. They are hard to get to know, although they are fiercely loyal to those few people they are close to, but their inability to be tied to a schedule makes them unreliable when it comes to activity commitments: they might show up, they might not. Crafter’s can treat their spouses like royalty and lavish them with beautiful gifts, then take off with friends for an unplanned week or two in the sun without bothering to notify their significant other. Crafters need their freedom to seek adventure, and mates who wish to keep them happy are wise to give them an extremely long leash.

ISTP’s make up about ten percent of the total population (which is kind of scary, to an ISTJ like me) so you can put plenty of these people in your novel. In fact, if your protagonist is a SUPERVISOR or an INSPECTOR, he’ll be driven up the wall, repeatedly, by the CRAFTER. Talk about tension. ISTP’s make good software developers, systems analysts, and computer repair people, where they can set their own schedules and don’t have to communicate a lot. They also make good firefighters or purchasing agents. 

Famous ISTP’s include Charles Bronson, Tom Cruise, Clint Eastwood, James Dean, Burt Reynolds, and Keith Richards. Fictional ISTP’s include Boba Fett and Han Solo from Star Wars, Wolverine from X-Men, and Butch Coolidge from Pulp Fiction.

Only two more to go! Hang in there.

-Sonja
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