ISTJ – An exploration of human behavior

The majority of men, seventeen percent according to Career Planner (see are The Inspector (ISTJ). This means that most men are bright, logical, and direct. Their focus on concrete facts and data make them good analysts. A tendency towards thoroughness and attention to detail means that they are rarely wrong.

In my experience, most of my coworkers seem to fall into this profile. To a point.

But under pressure of deadlines and intense scrutiny of their managers, most lose interest in the fine details, favoring simplicity over finesse, quick and easy over made from scratch, regardless of the long term costs and effort.

In other words, under pressure, most men favor inexpensive duct tape and bailing wire to a polished product, because the latter requires more effort – in the short term.

Sadly, most of us are the children in the behavior test who eat the cookie in front of us rather than wait the five minutes with a promise to receive two.

In the stories that we write, do our characters primarily stay within the prescribed profile, or do we let them drift, and show us their weaknesses? At the risk of clarity, giving our characters personality defects makes them more real and, therefore, easier to accept and identify with.

How have you introduced character flaws?

Non-verbal communication in prose

Some scientists say that over ninety percent of all communication is non-verbal — tone, inflection and volume of voice, gestures, facial expressions, and body positions. As a writer of prose, I have often wondered about how to include this in a scene.

On one hand, I might describe the gestures one character uses in reaction to a statement or event, e.g. Manny folded his arms across his chest and glared at Alice. When she didn’t react, his lips melted into a frown. If left alone, the reader must then make their own conclusion about the Manny’s reaction.

Or I could simply state the character’s reaction, e.g. Manny glared at Alice, vitriol casting his face into an ugly frown. This, however, garners many a critique: “Show me, don’t tell me!”

Personally I prefer a combination of the two, even at the cost of a few readers telling me to show them Manny’s reaction.

Manny folded his arms across his chest and glared at Alice. Vitriol melted his eyebrows and lips into an ugly frown. The tilt of his chin darkened his eyes.

What do you think? I’d love to hear your opinion.