Friday, January 10, 2014

Shy Characters

I am a very shy person. And in most ways, that seems like a disadvantage. I feel very uncomfortable in unfamiliar social situations--at times to the point of breaking out in a sweat and quickly leaving the room. Sometimes, it even makes me frustrated with myself.
A sketch of a random shy girl....

There are things I can work on to lessen my shyness, but at the same time, I can't forget what my shyness has done for me. My overall uneasiness with interacting with people has helped me to create interesting and motivating characters.

In a story, how easy is it to relate to a character that is 100% confident all the time? By having insecurities and fear, a character seems more human, and the story is way more interesting.

Who knows about insecurity and fear more than a shy person?

Creating characters who are a little awkward in conversation or in the way that they handle things comes easy to me because I know what it's like. I face that every time I go to social events when I'm not comfortable with everyone there, or when I try to be more engaged, but end up sticking my foot in my mouth instead.

I do a lot of things that make me embarrassed and think, "Did I seem mean to them? I didn't want to seem mean...I was just scared. I hope they didn't see how much I was sweating when I was talking to them. They must have seen it--they must think I'm really weird. Why do I have to be so weird?"

The best thing about using my shyness to create characters who are insecure is making a story where they rise above their awkwardness--when they succeed despite not being fearless socially, like society wants us to think that everyone should be naturally.

Some shy people feel a lot of self-pity because of their social fears. I don't. Instead, I'm very proud of myself every time I overcome them. And I'm proud of my characters when they overcome their social fears too.

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