On Awkward Characters

A follow-up to Why Newt Scamander is an Important Main Character

Media, unfortunately, often dictates how certain groups of people are perceived in society. This is why representation is so important in TV, movies, and books.

This need for representation goes beyond just race, gender, and sexuality. It is also important with personality types and niches of humans. For instance, the way awkward characters are treated is often a misrepresentation.

So, if you’re planning on writing an “awkward” character, here are some things to consider – by someone who is somewhat awkward herself:

Eye Contact

Some people can’t make eye contact because of nervousness, or low self-esteem. Others don’t because of rudeness.

But it’s important to consider that there are some people who just find eye contact uncomfortable, or just don’t know how to make eye contact without feeling like they’re staring or being too intense. Others just can’t keep their eyes still.

 

Being in a Group

Some people thrive in groups. Others don’t.

Someone can be a social butterfly when in a one-on-one conversation, but can’t get a word in when with two people. It isn’t that this person acts different around different people (though most people, awkward or not, do), but that the person just can’t find an opening to speak.

The Gain of Confidence

Most characters generally gain confidence as a story goes on. A lot of times, the awkward character loses its “awkward” traits with confidence. But if the traits aren’t caused by lack of confidence, but instead have other causes, than a boost of confidence won’t change them.

It’s natural for someone to learn to be more social the more they hang out with people, but this is gradual, and if somethings are just too uncomfortable – like eye contact – it might not change.

And remember, not all “awkward” traits need to be fixed in the first place. There’s nothing wrong with dressing a little more to the geek side, or preferring smaller crowds.

Stop magically making awkward characters like everyone else and let them be themselves.

 

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