A lot of thought goes into character creation. Thoughts, flaws, likes, dislikes, personalities, love interests, attitude, style…
Not to mention the physical attributes of your characters, right?
But something that I see thrown around a lot is people calling themselves (or their characters) introverts.
To quote Inigo Montoya, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
I’m not an expert in psychology. I’m not claiming that what I’m saying in the end-all be-all to portraying an introverted character in your writing.
However, I am offering a few tips on how to get that feel right and make your character more accurate.
The first major thing that I want to touch on is that being an introvert does not necessarily equal shy.
I repeat: being an introvert does not necessarily equal shy.
Being shy normally suggests that your character doesn’t know how to approach new people in new settings. Or new people in familiar settings. Or people at all. Being shy is a discomfort about speaking out at a party or in a group. Being shy is being unable to express oneself in situations where one is uncomfortable. It is the inability to approach new people and express yourself to said people.
This is not the same as being an introvert.
When I was younger, I was shy. I was afraid of being judged harshly, or people not liking me. I was bookish, smarter than my peers (always on the honour roll and an IQ test at 6 years old proved it,) and uninterested in things like sports and GI Joe, and more into reading and artsy things. I didn’t know how to talk to people. I didn’t know how to approach these kids who had been friends for years and had grown up together. I was shy. I still get that way, actually. There are people who I’m too afraid to talk to, or people who I want to talk to but can’t find common ground with and have a difficult time expressing myself. (Hero worship and celebrities on twitter notwithstanding!)
This isn’t the same as being introverted.
If your character can’t talk to new people for reasons of discomfort or the inability to approach new people because they don’t know how, then they are shy. Not necessarily introverted.
I’ll touch more on this next Monday — until then, consider if your character is shy. And leave me a comment so we can talk about it!