Cold, robotic, scornful, villainous.
Fictional INTJs tend to have these traits. Writing a character like that can be fun, but way too easy.
When I first got into typing, I thought I was an INTJ (moral of the story: never trust online tests). Because of that and other factors, I know about as much as I can about the INTJ thought process (Ni, Te, Fi, Se) without actually being one/knowing one (outside of books, that is).
Here’s some things to consider when writing an INTJ character.
Type Doesn’t Give Anyone the Right to be Mean
You can write mean characters! There is nothing wrong with writing mean characters! It’s when the ‘heroes’ are applauded for being mean because they do it cleverly that’s wrong. Think Sherlock. I like the guy, but that doesn’t mean it’s ‘right’ that he says the stuff he says. When there’s no other characters commenting on that habit (like John) and it’s not a deliberate choice to make the character flawed, it’s problematic.
This is an easy trap to fall into when writing any NT type characters; intuition connects dots quickly and thinker types generally care less about offending people than feelers (especially in fiction). But just because ‘it’s funny’ or ‘it’s their personality’ doesn’t mean it’s right, and has to be dealt with like any other character flaw.
Explore Inferior Se
And not just the normal ‘oh they’re impulsive when stressed.’ Like I said on my INFJ Characters post, inferior Se can show up as nearly uncontrollable goofiness. It’d be a good way to show how close a friendship is in a short amount of time, or show a different side to a normally withdrawn character.
They Don’t Need to be Villains
If there’s going to be one INTJ character in a sci-fi/fantasy book, they’ll almost always be the villain. But an ISFJ can be a villain just as well as an INTJ, and an INTJ can be the hero as much as an INFP. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: type doesn’t determine what decisions you’ll make, only how you’ll make them!
It’s easy to write a one dimensional INTJ villain: they’ll probably be equipped with a long-term world domination plan (Ni), brutal efficiency in commanding others (Te), strong personal motives unswayed by sobbing masses (Fi), and a great sense of style to match their ridiculously tricky fighting moves (Se). If you want a caricature, go for it, but if you want a character, flesh them out a bit more.
INTJs Pair Well with INFJs
This is another personal preference, but I like INTJ/INFJ friendships in fiction. Think Ender and Valentine (The Ender Saga), and Batman and Ra’s Al Ghul (Dark Knight Trilogy).
Their shared dom-Ni and inferior Se is statistically rare, so that unique viewpoint alone can begin a friendship. I read somewhere (credible, right?) that healthy individuals access their tertiary (third) function fairly regularly, especially in recreation. This friendship can stimulate the third function in each, creating some interesting conversations and conflicts (especially with Fe/Fi).
Remember INTJs Begin as Children
Whaat? They don’t spring fully grown from Zeus’s skull?
There are some INTJ children in books (like Ender from Ender’s Game), but there are rarely child INTJs in children’s fiction. It’s like people think every child is an INFP before they mutate at sixteen to become… something different *gasp* My limited knowledge of humans tempts me to disbelieve that, but what do I know.
Great INTJ Characters:
Digory Kirke from The Chronicles of Narnia (the only exception I know of to the INTJ children rule); Bruce Wayne from The Dark Knight Trilogy; Halt from Ranger’s Apprentice; Ender from Ender’s Game; Childermass from Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
As always, these are suggestions. You can write cold, scornful, villainous INTJs, but be aware of stereotypes.
Do you have any favorite INTJ characters?