Writer's Notes: Introvert vs. Extrovert
I'm a bit discombobulated this week, what with taking last Friday off, and then having Monday as a holiday from the day job. Yesterday was a bit like plunging into glacial waters - a serious reality check after having four days to do my own thing, but I survived.
In any case, bear with me...I'm still sort of brain dead from the whole work thing. Being around people wears me out, even more so when that includes a lot of noise, activity, and sometimes requires input from me. It's the whole introverted thing - while I may not seem like your average introvert (I'm not shy and I do a decent job blending in for the most part), it's harder to deal with when I have a few blissful days to myself and then suddenly have to deal with people again.
Naturally, this gets me thinking about the characters in my books - are they introverts? Extroverts? Does it matter?
I think it does - and I also think that to this point, most of my characters have been introverted to various degrees. It wasn't a conscious decision on my part - I just write the characters as they are in my head. But I think that because I'm drawn to other introverts, my subconscious gives me that kind of a mental baseline to write from. Probably because that's what I *know* from a very personal standpoint, and because it's hard for me to empathize with people who draw strength from being around other people.
Honestly, a lot of extroverts annoy me if I have to be around them for too long. Which I know isn't the "nice" thing to say, and it's probably politically incorrect as well, but I'm not saying they're bad people, or that they need to stop being the way they are (because they can't, anymore than I can) - I'm just saying that they wear me down far more quickly than another introvert would, so the time I can comfortably spend with them is far, far shorter. Even online, I tend to limit contact with extroverts when I don't have the energy to be around their general enthusiasm for socializing.
So *that* made me wonder, do extroverted characters have the same effect? And then it hit me. I am currently writing a character who has an extroverted personality...and frankly, she's been very difficult for me to pin down. Granted, I keep her busy running with the plot, but at her core, she's someone who draws strength from being around other people, which is why she's (mentally) having a hard time with the tasks she needs to accomplish alone. When I'm writing her, I can feel her discomfort, her weariness, and her need for human companionship...and it does wear me out more than working with a heroine who is happy being on her own.
One of these days, I think it would be an interesting study to write an opposites attract story (I don't generally like them because it's hard to find a reasonable compromise for which they'll stay together long-term), wherein the push-pull between introvert and extrovert are exaggerated. Perhaps just a short story though, since it will undoubtedly be quite draining to write...
Are your characters introverted, extroverted, or a nice mix? Did you plan it that way, or did it sort of just happen?
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