Monday, August 30, 2021

A New Sort of Character

Take a look at right hand side of the graphic beside this paragraph. That's where I've been living in my fiction for more than a decade. Marita? Bets?? Guilty as charged.

The thing about extroverted characters is that they nag at me between writing sessions. Never content to quietly consider life (Angel notwithstanding), they prod me to tell their stories. They even take over sometimes. And, after being in my head for so long, it was like they really were collaborators, driving their own destinies.

Now take a look at the left hand side of the graphic. That's my new protagonist. Not that there's anything wrong with being an introvert -- some of my best friends are introverts. But, as main characters go, introverts are harder to write. They're content to stay at home. They recharge alone. Action is decidedly not their middle name.

The funny thing is, I didn't come to this realization until this evening. I knew that this new protagonist was a tougher nut to crack than my previous main characters, all of whom were either extroverts or surrounded by extroverts. In retrospect, that should have been my first clue. She resisted being put on the page until her friends drew her out. 

I find writing an introvert to be a conundrum for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that this main character doesn't share the storytelling like Marita and Angel did. Finding a way to be true to her introversion while still making her story readable poses an interesting challenge. How much introspection is too much? How much time can she spend alone before the reader -- perhaps an extrovert -- gets bored?

Despite the fact that she's a challenge -- or perhaps because of it -- I've grown attached to her and, now that I've figured out why she keeps so much to herself, I'm intrigued. Now that I realize she's not just being stubborn, I see her in a whole new light.

See that line down the middle of the graphic? That's me. I'm an ambivert. As I write this character, I'll definitely need to tap into the introverted side of my nature, especially since this character and I have less in common than pretty much any other character I've written. 

Challenge accepted. Now I can't wait to find out what's going on inside that head of hers.

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