I've been recently awarded the One Lovely Blog Award from Liz Davis. Click her name to visit her site. Thank you, Liz! I'll agree with one of her random facts--I don't like coffee either. I know...it's so un-American.
INTROVERTS: We Writers
Face it. Most writers are introverts. Not ALL of us, but introversion lends itself well to huddling over a keyboard trying to capture fantastical storylines, compelling characters, and wisps of inner dialogue. We live in our minds a lot. And we're quite comfy there, thank you.
A quip I read lately: Writers are people who have a story to tell, but don't wish to make eye contact while doing it.
INTROVERTS: Our Characters
So assuming we're pretty introverted (and even if not), do we make our characters the same way? Or do we make them flaming extroverts, doing and saying the things we only wish we could? A lot of my characters are pretty extroverted. They're thinkers, but most of them have no trouble merging and dialoguing with others. Sure, they have their hidden insecurities, but they get to mingle in crowds and say those witty things I only think of hours later in real life. I do write introverted characters too…it really depends on the story.
So how do we write an introverted character if we're extroverted, or at least if we're more extroverted than our wallflower main character or sidekick? Here are some ideas, a lot of which are dredged up from my own very shy childhood. In list form, since I like lists!
General Wallflower Characteristics
1. Dislikes crowds. Favors hanging with family, or retreats solo to one's room.
2. Mole-like, squinting into the glare of social spotlights, shrinking from attention.
3. Terror and near-panic-attacks when asked to speak publicly.
4. Feels like everyone is analyzing or judging him/her (which may or may not be true).
5. Frequently buries one's self in a book, video game, or other solo activity.
6. Tend to be thinkers, analyzing themselves and others. Often keeps a journal.
7. When in a group, echoes or agrees with others rather than coming up with new ideas or opposing ideas that have been brought up.
8. Hates group projects in school. Would rather do assignments by him/herself.
9. Feels insecurity or shame about one's identity, appearance, or lack of social skills.
10. Often has no sense of clothing style or interest in fashion.
Specific Wallflower Characteristics
1. Keeps head down. Finds it difficult or impossible to make eye contact.
2. Dry cotton mouth when confronted with a public speaking occasion.
3. Alternately, a sudden excess of saliva that makes convulsive swallowing necessary.
4. Blushing, flushing…that awful RED face that is a public sign of embarrassment.
5. Shaking hands, trembling and weak legs. Even lightheadedness and nausea.
6. A heartbeat that pounds and/or beats much faster than normal.
7. A tongue that turns thick and uncooperative, so he/she stumbles over words.
8. An inability to think straight. Confusion and general muddledness.
9. Drops things, is clumsy: trips on rugs, stumbles on stairs, bumps into things.
10. Tight body language--legs crossed, arms folded, hands clenched.
And if there's a crush on someone involved, pure petrified panic sets in. Then ALL of the above physical reactions might happen in that person's presence!
Do you consider yourself more of an introvert or an extrovert? 50-50?
Do you usually make your characters introverts, extroverts--or a combination thereof?
Are you intimidated/freaked by the idea of personally marketing your book, or eager to do it? (author visits to schools, readings and signings, lectures or talks)
Can you add any characteristics that would describe a shy or introverted character?