Character Types: The Extrovert

Hey SE Readers. Joan with you today. This is the fifth in a series of posts about character types. The ideas are from my personal observations or public knowledge of well-known people. The other posts are The Attention Seeker, The “I Can Top That” Person, The Know it All, and The Introvert.

Creative Commons photo via Pixabay

Several years ago, I attended a weekend women’s retreat. I knew several of those attending and didn’t have a problem conversing with them individually or in a small group. By the time the weekend was over, I didn’t have a problem talking to the entire gathering.

But an incident from that first day still stands out in my mind. We arrived on a Friday afternoon, had dinner, then gathered for our first “get to know you” session. It involved some play-acting and they asked for volunteers. Being an introvert, I remained in the background.

One of the women brought a friend. This person didn’t know anyone in the group, but she was the first to step up to the plate. And boy did she put on a show. A Hollywood actor had nothing on her.

I was both appalled and amazed at her actions. She was what I call an extreme extrovert.

I think extroverted characters are easier to write than introverts. You can easily make them an antagonist or protagonist. They could have a supporting or minor role. Think of the obnoxious neighbor who is harmless but is annoying because of their extreme personality. Or the car salesman who won’t take no for an answer.

Extroverts most often love to be the center of attention. Like the woman at the retreat, they’re usually the life of the party. This can be either good or bad, depending on what you want to do with your character.

If you make your protagonist an extrovert, take care not to go overboard. As mentioned in an earlier post, you want readers to like your main characters. Giving them an over-the-top personality might be too much for some. As a reader, I’ve been turned off from several books after reading reviews that say the main character isn’t likeable.

How would you use the extreme introvert? Please share in the comments.

61 thoughts on “Character Types: The Extrovert

  1. Pingback: How to Write Point of View, Part 6, Common Pitfalls | Story Empire

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  3. Hi Joan, I must admit that my characters tend to be more like the people I know so I don’t think I’ve ever written about an extreme extrovert. Most accountants are more on the introverted side. I can be very extroverted, but I also lose interest quickly and then I want to move on to something else. It would be interesting to write about a selfish extravert.

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  5. The main character of my soon-to-be-released novel, Hype, is an extrovert. She’s a popular cheerleader, and almost everyone loves her. Almost. Lol! 😉 She loses that extrovert side of her when something tragic happens, but only in certain aspects of her life. I like my characters to have some kind of flaw (or hidden strength). It gives them balance. Great post, Joan! 🙂

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  6. I think if my main character was an extreme introvert, I’d still try to demonstrate strength through their actions and convictions rather than verbally. Introverts can be just as strong and opinionated, but they show these traits in more subtle ways. Maybe it would be the type of character who does many charitable actions but prefers to remain anonymous.

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  7. I have two extreme extroverts in my family and one of my friends in an extreme extrovert. Sometimes being around them can be exhausting, but it’s never dull. I’ve written extroverts as characters, but I’m not sure any of them would qualify as extreme. Oh, wait. I take that back. I had a minor character in Myth and Magic would who was an extreme extrovert. She was a lot of fun to write 🙂

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    • My husband is extroverted but not extreme. (Thank goodness!) Those extreme types can be exhausting (both physically and emotionally). I had to tone down a minor character in Unclear Purposes. She was too over the top.

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  8. When I write, my MC is usually a mix of the two. I find the introvert needs a bit more to be able to carry my plot. I don’t think I’ve ever written an extreme extrovert, but I would use one as a supporting character in any WIP. They would work well as a clue dropper or just for some comic relief. Another good one in the series, Joan.

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  9. This is a great series and really making me think about character types. I’m an introvert and would struggle to give an extreme extrovert a fair outing in my writing because it would be so alien to me. Many thanks, Joan!

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  10. I tend to be more comfortable writing from an introverts point of view but an extrovert can be a good partner to push them past their comfort zone. They do a certain needed element but you are right can be over the too too. Great post, Joan 🙂

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  11. I know a few extroverts whom I love. They just love people and are in their element in a group or crowd. I don’t write them often, though. Maybe because I don’t know that many. But I’ve never tried to write an extreme extrovert. I think it would make me tired:)

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  12. Great post, Joan! I agree that extrovert characters tend to be easier to write. I feel this is especially true for us introverts. For me, I can build a character to be the complete opposite of myself, or perhaps have some strengths I wish I had. Thanks for sharing!

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  13. Very interesting post, Joan. Most folks are extroverts and often give life to a party or add excitement to an adventure. But extreme extroverts can be exhausting. Since I write thrillers, extroverts abound, but I’ve not included an off-the-chart extrovert among my characters. Something to think about for sure! Thank you for sharing this writing possibility. 😊

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  14. Another excellent character profile, Joan. I do like writing bold characters and I think it’s partly because I am not extremely bold myself and I can live vicariously through them. 🙂 I’m not an introvert, but am very happy staying in the background while someone else takes center stage. I think you are right about the admonition not to make the extroverted character annoying, as the reader will instantly be turned off. Thank you so much for sharing!

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    • I’m with you, Jill. In real life they’re overwhelming. It’s been over ten years since that retreat and I can still picture that woman. Funny I can’t recall the person who brought her and she was someone I knew.

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  15. I love this post, Joan. Most writers are introverts, so this is a hard one to write. Most of my characters, particularly the paranormal ones, live in the shadows and fringes. If I’ve written one it has to be Lisa Burton, but I don’t know that she reaches the extreme level.

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  16. I don’t think I’ve ever written an extreme extrovert, and I’m not sure I could do a good job of it. I’d have to watch a lot of videos of extreme-type personalities, lols. I can see myself writing an extreme introvert much more easily! Great post, Joan. Thanks for sharing 🙂

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  17. Being an introvert myself, I find extroverts overwhelming. When I write them (and I don’t know that I’ve ever written an extreme extrovert), I hope I make them feel genuine because I can’t imagine wanting to throw myself into the fray like that.

    Really enjoying this series, Joan.

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  18. I am actually writing my first short story ever right now which features an extreme introvert as the main character and an extreme extrovert as a supporting role. The main character is a reclusive old man who is now in a nursing home who’s consuming passion in life has been learning Dutch. The extreme extrovert, a volunteer, can’t understand him and why he never even went to the Netherlands or did anything “meaningful” with his life. The main character ends up having a big affect on one of the nurses at the nursing home, who decides to ignore people telling her that it would be useless and decides to follow her dream and go back to graduate school for philosophy.

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