The Character I Wish Existed in More Fiction

There’s this huge push for diversity lately, especially in characters.  More this, more that!  I like some of the changes that I’m seeing, but there’s one character I don’t see often and I wish I did.

The introvert.

Introvert

The biggest problem with introverted characters is that there are attempts to write them.  I’ve read about plenty of characters who are shy or antisocial/asocial or socially-awkward.  There are definitely wallflowers in fiction.

But being a wallflower isn’t what being an introvert is.

Part of the problem, I think, is that a lot of people don’t actually understand what introverts are.  I’ve heard people describe introverts as being those shy or wallflower people.  Someone else I knew thought that it had to do with how well someone could communicate.  Someone else I know thinks of introvertedness as a character flaw that needs to be overcome.

The thing is, being a wallflower or being shy are sometimes effects of being an introvert.  But it isn’t the root of it.

I’m an introvert, and for me, being an introvert isn’t just how I communicate or how I make friends.  It’s true—I hate crowds.  If I enter a room with a lot of people, I tend to stay near the edge of the room.  Usually by a wall.  I’m shy when I meet new people, and sometimes, I have a hard time initiating a conversation with somebody I’m not real familiar with.

But that isn’t what being an introvert is about.

I like being alone, sometimes.  But I hate being lonely.  I have friends, and I need my friends.  Without them, I’d go crazy.  I might have more fictional characters in my head than real friends, but what friends I do have that are real are really close friends.

Sometimes, being an introvert means I will pick one really close friend over a group of people qualifying as “I…think we might be friends?  Maybe?”.  I prefer deep conversations over light and fluffy useless ones.  (That’s not to say I can’t talk about the weather.  In fact, I like to compare the weather from where I live to the weather where some of my non-local friends live.)

Sometimes, being an introvert means breaks from routine are tiring.  Don’t get me wrong, I love to have something a little different happen.  I can go stir-crazy as easy as anybody else.  But if something goes differently one day, then it needs to be normal the next day so I can recover.  I think this goes for most people, actually, but as an introvert, my “downtime” is really important.  I went to a birthday party this afternoon?  Okay, I’ll probably spend the evening holed up in my room with my headphones.  I went on vacation for two weeks?  Great, it was awesome, and now the next week is probably going to be spent mostly at home.  Without the downtime, I get more easily overwhelmed and my stress level rises.

I gravitate towards the walls in a room, but sometimes it’s just so I can see everything going on.  I’m shy at first, but if I warm up to somebody, I can talk until they’re sick of me.  I don’t have a lot of friends, but the ones I do have are important.  I need my routines, and I love breaks from them, but then I need the routines again.

To bring this back around to characters, I think the thing is, there are introverted characters.  But they only just scratch the surface.  They only have a few of the stereotypical “features” of an introvert.  Or, even worse, they’re viewed as having a character flaw and it has to be overcome.

“Oh, don’t worry, by the end of this story, you’re going to be the biggest social butterfly in existence.

Being an introvert isn’t just being shy.  It isn’t a character flaw.  There’s nothing wrong with me.  It’s the way I think.  It’s the way I interact.  Being an introvert can introduce flaws or be coupled with them—like being too shy to make friends—but it isn’t the flaw itself.

I wish there were more truly introverted characters, instead of just shy or asocial ones.

Updates and Whatnot

I’ve been struggling lately with blog posts, mostly because any time I think of something to post about, I then think, “Nah, why would anybody want to read that?” and then I don’t post anything.  But really, since when did I post things that were particularly all that interesting?  If I was that interesting, I’d probably have more followers.

Ha!  As if I’m in this for the followers.  I don’t even know why I’m doing this.  I guess because I got bored a few years ago and thought, “Hey, let’s make a blog.”

So, really truly, I have this blog to talk about writing.  So I’m going to talk about writing, and if I do it in the most boring fashion ever, well, then, I can say I succeed at being a bore.  I’m doing this for myself more than anything anyway, I think.

With that all out of the way, I suppose this post is mostly an update on my writing and such.

First off, sometime since January 1st, I decided that I was going to set a goal of trying to write about 200 words every single day.  It’s a very small amount, but that’s the point of it.  Even on busy days, I can write that much early in the mornings, so I know I can do it every day.  Of course, that doesn’t mean I won’t try to write more.  However, having such a small goal makes it easier to feel accomplished each day, no matter how much or how little I’ve written.

Yesterday, I wrote almost 3k, and it was awesome.  Especially since I didn’t even realize I’d had that much until I sat back and glanced at my word-count.  Today, on the other hand, I’ve written only roughly 250 words, yet I still feel accomplished.  I wrote, and I met my goal, and I’m satisfied.  I’ll still write more tonight, but if I feel I need to do something else for the evening, I know I can.

I guess what it is is that I can easily make my goal, which means I can spend my day doing more than just writing.  That’s especially good for school days, when I don’t even have the whole day to get done everything I want to get gone.

So, there.  I have a little bar on the right side of the page of my consecutive days of writing, starting January 1st.  My hope is that that bar will never drop down back to zero even once this year.  I have no clue if that is a far-fetched goal, but I will do my best to make it there.  And if I don’t make it…

This gif amuses me way too much.

 

Anyway.  On another note, I’ve started editing my NaNoWriMo novel, Oracular.  Well, ish.  (There’s another bar on the right side tracking my progress, in case anyone’s curious.)  I haven’t actually edited a single thing in the novel yet.  What I am doing, however, is basically being my own alpha reader.

At the moment, I’m reading the novel, start to finish, and taking notes on it.  My thoughts on a character’s reaction to something, notes on places where the world-building is thin, questions whose answers could prompt changes in later parts, and all that stuff.  When I’ve gotten all the way to the end, then I’ll start sorting through things.  I have a lot of world-building ahead of me, because I realized I had holes all over the place.  My magic system I didn’t even begin to touch on, and that really shows, and I have things like characters righting things down on paper even though I specifically noted that trees are sparse enough in this country that they can’t make paper, particularly not for everyday use.

Yeah, that makes a lot of sense.

Once I have a more solid world to build on, I’m going to have to sort out my characters.  I had five viewpoint characters, and it was a struggle to balance it—a struggle that I failed miserably.  One character had roughly fourteen narrated chapters, while another had four or five.  Scrivener has a handy Collections thing that I can use to sort out the different narrated chapters, and I’ll be sorting out each character’s arc and better balancing the chapters.

After I’m done with that, I don’t even know.  To get to this part, I’m pretty sure I’ll be rewriting most of the beginning, at the very least.  Hopefully I won’t have to rewrite much of the middle, and I don’t even know with the ending.  That will probably get rewritten mostly, as well, though I’ll know better when I finish reading it.

Maybe by that point, I’ll be willing to let someone else read the novel.  (Hello, Peace.)

Anyway, so that’s where I am for now.  I’m feeling confident, if a tad bit overwhelmed.