Nerdy. Socially awkward. Sidekick.
I’m close to two INTPs, but know very few INTP characters. I can only conclude that these characters are so awesome most authors are intimidated by them. I hope this helps.
Here’s some things to consider when writing INTP characters (Ti, Ne, Si, Fe).
Type ≠ Interests
It’s an unwritten rule in storytelling that INTPs must reference Doctor Who. They have to be nerds and love sci-fi. As much as I (and my two INTP friends) love Doctor Who and general nerdiness, it’s silly to assume someone’s interests based on their type. One of my INTP friends can greatly enjoy sappy YA romances and cute accessories.
This problem pops up with many types (ISTPs like fixing stuff, ENTJs like leading stuff, ISFJs like mothering stuff, etc.) but it’s especially noticeable in INTPs due to the characters’ rarity.
Why Socially Awkward?
Yeah, Inferior Fe. But Si is good at figuring out ‘how things are done’, even when tertiary. Unhealthy INTPs may ignore or wrongly use this knowledge, but healthier ones will play along with society’s rules (when needed) when expressing their Ti/Ne.
And, just like super mature INTJs and INFJs can use their Se beneficially, well-developed INTPs have a good handle on their Fe, at least most of the time.
Tertiary Si Use
One of my INTP friends uses her Si by revisiting stories. She’ll regularly revisit her favorite tv shows and movies, especially the ones she loved when she was little. She’ll often reread books or certain scenes that she loves. This makes no sense to my Se- I’ll only rewatch or reread something if I forget major plot points, and even then, rarely.
I don’t know how many INTPs utilize their Si like this, but it’s definitely a thing. It’d be a great balancing characteristic to your INTP character.
Where’s the Main Characters?
I’ve only ever seen one story where the main character was an INTP (Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman, in case you were wondering). Needless to say, the character’s reactions were delightfully unique and the resolution was a breath of fresh air compared to the usual punching stuff solutions.
Reading it made me realize what we’re missing. C’mon, writers, get to work!
Great INTP Characters:
Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter; Ariadne from Inception; Odd from Odd and the Frost Giants; Bruce Banner from The Marvel Cinematic Universe
(That was way too hard to find four) Do you have some favorite INTP characters?