Kristen Lamb’s blog about introverts, extroverts, and ambiverts is quite interesting. What does it have to do with writing? Tons! You’re creating protagonists and antagonists, major and minor characters, walk-ons… and they all have a personality. I’ve covered personality types and love language before, but I’ve never done a post on introverts, extroverts, and ambiverts. If you’re asking what an ambivert is, read Kristen Lamb’s post. Or keep reading.
I took the little “test” and discovered I’m not as ultra-introverted as I thought. I’m marginally in the classification of ambivert. I think I learned how to do that from my dad. He’s a Type-A mega-extrovert. Watching him over the years, I’ve learned to talk to people and how to behave in a crowd. Also, being a performance nut, I’ve grown accustomed to singing in front of large groups of people. But I still draw my energy during alone time, and since being with people draws energy from me, I’m firmly entrenched on the introverted side of the scale. I’ve merely learned how to “look” like an extrovert (when I have the energy to do so–when I’m drained, I’m heading for the nearest shadowy corner).
Look at the protagonist in your work-in-progress. When he’s stressed out, does he head for home and a good book? He’s an introvert. Does he head to the noisiest bar he can find? He’s an extrovert. Or maybe he’s an ambivert: he heads home and turns on a gaming system where he meets up with a few buddies on-line to shoot/maim/kill baddies. A little human interaction is what he craves, but not a ton.
Now turn the scenario around. When your protagonist is feeling relaxed (which should only happen at the beginning and ending of the book), where does he go for a good time? Out to dinner in a quiet restaurant with his best friend (introvert), out to a conservative bar with his three closest friends (ambivert), or to a boisterous party with 400 of his closest buds (extrovert)? These things matter, so take the time to figure it out.
Keep in mind that not all introverts are shy. They can be just as talkative and open as extroverts. Introverts are usually better listeners, so they make better cops, salesmen, and attorneys than extroverts. Not all the time, mind you, but as a grouping. Extroverts make awesome entertainers, self-help speakers, and bureaucrats. If you can think of other occupations more suited to one personality type, leave me a comment. I’d love to hear other ideas about this.