I was writing the other night (I tend to do that sometimes) and I was working on a particular scene that involved good old Ziva and all of her trust issues and whatnot. Now, I’ve been writing Ziva for just about ten years (um, wow?) so I can basically write her in my sleep (although to be honest, I feel like I’ve only had her character really nailed down for ~5 years or so). Because of this, I often just end up writing things that immediately come to mind – stuff that “comes natural,” if you will. It’s almost just pure reflex at this point. As I’m writing, I’m just thinking “Oh yeah duh, of course this is what Ziva would do.” Then afterwards I’ll read back over it, or I’ll see a comment left by a perceptive reader, and I’ll think “Whoa. That’s deep. That’s Ziva.” Something like that happened the other night when I wrote the following:
Okay, so maybe there had been a small element of trust involved. But there was also a big difference between trusting someone to do the right thing and knowing they were likely to do the right thing based on past experiences and behaviors.
I sat there and stared at it for a second and I thought “Wow, that passage really represents the difference between the T (Thinking) and F (Feeling) elements in the Myers Briggs test.” So naturally I had to go plug Ziva into the test and find her MBTI type. Here are the results of me going through the test and trying to answer all the questions from her perspective:
Now first off, I’m an ISTJ. I actually had to take a [fairly lengthy] version of the Myers Briggs test in one of my classes a couple years ago (for a grade!). I got solid ISTJ results then, and I’ve gotten solid ISTJ results every time I’ve taken the test in any of its forms since then. I was honestly really surprised that Ziva and I have the same type, and, quite frankly, a little bit disturbed. I had a sneaking suspicion she’d at least be an I_T_, but that was as far as I expected the similarities to go.
I must confess I have noticed a few parallels in our personalities, but I’ve tried as hard as possible not to include too much of myself in her because a) “they” tell you not to do that and b) I find it annoying when authors basically write themselves as their main characters anyway. But despite the fact that we do have the same personality type, I think our breakdowns are still very different. I feel like I probably still have a stronger preference toward Introversion (let’s face it, Ziva is much more assertive than I am) and my preference toward Thinking is, um…slightly less, to say the least.
That Thinking/Feeling ratio made me laugh when I first saw it. I mean, I like to think Ziva feels at least a little, regardless of what she tells herself, but if that breakdown doesn’t represent the passage I included earlier, I don’t know what does. I’ve had two other writer friends tell me that their assassin characters are also ISTJs, and really, if you think about it, it’s a perfectly reasonable result for that type of person. These are people who, in most cases, have been trained for years to analyze facts and details and ignore their personal feelings. Not only that, but allowing those personal feelings to take control or failing to recognize those details could have very negative consequences in their line of work. That’s why it’s so much fun to have secondary characters be of very different MBTI types 😉
Although I plugged Aroska into the test and he got ESTJ… That doesn’t really seem accurate to me, but I was trying to do the test on my phone while walking around so circumstances weren’t ideal for putting a lot of thought into it…
Here’s the result breakdown from the ISTJ test. I don’t agree with everything it says (at least for Ziva – it all fits me to a T) but it’s still really interesting:
ISTJs are often called inspectors. They have a keen sense of right and wrong, especially in their area of interest and/or responsibility. They are noted for devotion to duty. Punctuality is a watchword of the ISTJ. The secretary, clerk, or business(wo)man by whom others set their clocks is likely to be an ISTJ.
As do other Introverted Thinkers, ISTJs often give the initial impression of being aloof and perhaps somewhat cold. Effusive expression of emotional warmth is not something that ISTJs do without considerable energy loss.
ISTJs are most at home with “just the facts, Ma’am.” They seem to perform at highest efficiency when employing a step-by-step approach. Once a new procedure has proven itself (i.e., has been shown “to work,”) the ISTJ can be depended upon to carry it through, even at the expense of their own health.
ISTJs are easily frustrated by the inconsistencies of others, especially when the second parties don’t keep their commitments. But they usually keep their feelings to themselves unless they are asked. And when asked, they don’t mince words. Truth wins out over tact. The grim determination of the ISTJ vindicates itself in officiation of sports events, judiciary functions, or an other situation which requires making tough calls and sticking to them.
Their SJ orientation draws the ISTJ into the service of established institutions. Home, social clubs, government, schools, the military, churches — these are the bastions of the SJ. “We’ve always done it this way” is often reason enough for many ISTJs. Threats to time-honored traditions or established organizations (e.g., a “run” on the bank) are the undoing of SJs, and are to be fought at all costs.
Anyway, regardless of the almost comical outcome of Ziva’s test, I was quite pleased that I’ve managed to stay so true to her character over the years, even if it’s kind of on accident!
Steady progress is being made in Ronan: Ziva Payvan Book 3. I’ve been managing to stick to my “Just Do It“ goal and therefore have been making at least some progress every day. The last time I missed a day was February 13, so it’s been almost a month. Current wordcount is 63,602 so this image is a few days out of date. Some days, depending on the rest of my schedule, I’ll write 100 words. Sometimes it’s 400 or 600. Sometimes it’s over 1,000. Once it was over 2,000. Once it was -6. As long as Word asks if I want to save changes afterwards, I’m happy. It means some measure of progress was made, even if was just editing a single paragraph.
I stumbled across a bit of a logical fallacy in the plot the other night and was busy beating myself up about it when Beta Reader #1 got back to me with some chapters I’d sent her the day before (yes, I do use a mid-development beta reader). She made a comment that inadvertently fixed my logical fallacy but simultaneously exposed a brand new one. I’ve decided writing – editing in particular – is kind of like getting a skin graft. You’ve got a wound or some sort of problem in your story, and you can usually fix it, but that sometimes means screwing something else up in the process. Both things will heal eventually, but it’s all kind of painful..
Note: I have not actually experienced a skin graft.
So the two of us spent the majority of Monday afternoon frying our brains trying to figure out how to fix what we’d broken. In the end, the solution ended up being really simple and will just require a little editing and elaborating on my end. Hurrah for beta readers who aren’t afraid to call you out on your crap! Because really, what I had wasn’t necessarily a plot hole or anything. It was just a legitimate logical fallacy, something that would probably make readers say “But why would they go through all that trouble when they could just _____________?” It’s stuff that I sometimes don’t catch, or something I thought I included but it turns out it wasn’t written clearly enough for someone who’s not inside my head to understand.
Anyway, I’m starting to feel like I might already be about halfway done, despite the fact that my word meter says otherwise. I’ve already got the majority of the upcoming scenes planned to a T (some are even written already) so we’ll just have to see where it all goes from here. I’m at a point where I’m already starting to mess around with creating a back cover blurb (even though I probably shouldn’t) so we might be seeing something along those lines in the next couple of weeks. If I can get a lot done over Spring Break, there’s a chance I’ll finish the first draft by the end of school in June. I’m currently shooting for a mid-August release, but that would only give me two months of editing so I may have to push everything back a little further.
Slow is smooth, smooth is fast.
In other news, I took a little break from writing last night to watch The Lego Movie. Somehow I hadn’t seen it yet, but I’ve heard nothing but good things about it and figured it would be a fun way to decompress after a rather stressful senior project presentation. The whole movie is basically nonsense but I did enjoy it and sat there with this stupid grin on my face for the duration. I got kind of nostalgic seeing all the different Lego pieces and remembering all the awesome stuff I used to build. I was always jealous of my guy friends who had better Lego sets than I did. I hadn’t realized how many well-known actors were in the movie though! So many of them were perfect for their roles, too. See, stuff like this is why I won’t be able to take Chris Pratt seriously in Jurassic World.
P.S. I did actually end up getting some writing done, but this seemed like a good break all the same.
I gotta say though, this was probably my favorite part of the whole thing. I was eating tacos (which I’m just now realizing is pretty hilarious in itself) and almost spit everywhere.
I don’t know, maybe I’m just in a basketball mood because of March Madness. I find it increasingly hard to get any work done at this time of year because there’s basketball on TV all weekend. In my house, we basically just leave the TV on all day. If I have stuff to do, I’ll try to work on it during the first half and then really start tuning in to the game when it starts to get exciting in the second half. I haven’t seen Duke play yet this season (I don’t have cable so I’m limited to what CBS broadcasts) but they’re typically one of my favorites. Wisconsin has been impressive, and I’m hoping Louisville can have a decent tournament. I’ve really enjoyed watching Ohio State the past couple of seasons, but they’ve kind of fallen flat after losing Aaron Craft and the rest of last year’s senior class. My money’s on Kentucky though. I typically don’t like rooting for the #1 team because bracket-busting underdog upsets are half the fun of March Madness, but they’ve got a lot of talent and they’ve been a favorite for the past several seasons.
But here I am going on about basketball when Dakiti and Nexus are both going to be FREE this weekend! Yes, Saturday March 14 and Sunday March 15, both books will be free for Kindle. I haven’t done a promotion for awhile and sales have been moving at a glacial pace lately so I figured it was time to shake things up a little. If you’re looking for character-driven sci fi with lots of action and spy/thriller elements, or if you’ve read Dakiti but haven’t picked up Nexus, now is the time!
Looking at the wordcount on this post makes me hate myself a little because it’s almost 2k words I just contributed to something other than Ronan…