Two weeks ago, I made a post about some introverts’ aspects and a hint how that plays into writing an introverted character. Today, I’ll continue, with slightly more focus on the writing part. This will be a post about some roles an introverted character can have in a story.
As I mentioned at the end of the first post, introverts aren’t too fond of being part of large crowds, empty words, or exposition. Thus, diplomacy is probably the role an introvert would enjoy the least.
But what if there’s no other choice?
Among the things mentioned above, introverts tend to dislike conflict. More so if it’s pointless. So while they may despise playing such a role, they may be more willing than others to invest their time and efforts in pursuit of peace. This gives the character a challenge to overcome both from within (being in an environment they’re not fond of) and from without (having to prove themselves to the others, often while having no background, if their voice is to be heard). Furthermore, introvert with a to-the-point approach (to spend less time talking and more time acting) could bring some fresh air into an environment that may be quite stale, especially if all it did was preserving a set status quo.
A lone, old wizard is a common stereotype in fantasy, but there is some logic to that. Wizards often spend a lot of time studying and practicing their craft in one form or another. And, unlike front-line warriors, the ability to fight from distance gives them longer life expectancy.
Thus, a retired wizard who has seen the world may be the best mentor for a young hero to look for, especially if they can help them grow. If the wizard in question is also an introvert, such an experience may higlight some of the typical introvert traits, such as the tendency to form fewer relationships but deeply care about them – if the mentor and the student understand each other.
Such a relationship may also be a good connection between the present and the past, and help explain the backstory on the go. This gets further if the mentor has some personal experience, more so if that’s what made him a loner.
The wanderlust warrior
As introverts enjoy solutide, they may favor being a lone wolf, traveling the wold to find a worthy cause to fight for – or just to make some money.
LIkewise, an introverted character is more likely to be willing to embark on a long journey alone, or with just a few friends, because the idea of solitude doesn’t scare them. The fact they might avoid the unnecessary drama imposed on them by other people may actually lead to excitement hardly shared by others. With the land their pillow and the stars their blanket, they may be happier than anywhere else.
Furthermore, spending time alone (or in small group) may give them the time they need to think about what to do next, what their priorities are, and what they expect from their life, the very journey they’ve embarked on, their friends, and so on.
Introverts may also find the threat of banishment less intimidating that others, and being turned into an outcast may not be as harsh punishment for them as it would be for an extrovert, which may also become a minor plot point – if that deprives a character of power of one possible punishment.
The genius/geek/problem solver – or a problem maker
Present-time or future stories may have a place for ‘nerdy’ characters. In a way, they showcase some of the typical introvert traits, especially their focus on their favorite topics, which is something that may make them invaluable experts. If there’s such a person on the team, they may keep to themselves for most of the time and seem completely disconnected from what’s going on but, once their skills are needed, the others will be more than glad to have them.
This may be even more prominent in genres like Sci-Fi where an analytic mind may come hand during emergency situations. When such a person fixes your spaceship, you’ll be more than glad for having such a weirdo on board.
Smart characters may also make a good detective, being able to form, evaluate, and examine connection faster than others, discard misdirections and false clues, and keep their momentum when finding the criminal.
However, this may also take a turn towards the darker side. And when that happens, a loner villain may be harder to expose and defeat because the lack of connections an extrovert would form makes finding out where they are and what they’re planning harder.
There are likely to be way more, those three just came to my mind. So, I’m open to your comments to share what may be another fitting role for an introverted character. Examples welcome, whether from your own writing, or from something you’ve read.
Part three is coming probably in a week or two.