Today we’re going to talk about how to write a naive character. It may seem easy to write a naive character but sometimes it can be quite annoying, as our own personality as authors could interfere in the writing process. Everybody knows we have to separate ourselves from our characters but sometimes this is not as easy as one could think. So, here are the best tips to write a naive character. However, don’t forget to not be stuck in a stereotype or archetype. Each character has to be multifaceted and resemble what we’d consider a very well-developed personality. I talk more about that on this blog post about how to write complex characters.
How to Write a Naive Character: Main Tips
- Think like a kid
- “Why” is your best friend
- Don’t be afraid of being socially awkward
- Watch other naive characters
- Common sense is not a thing here
How to Write a Naive Character: Think like a kid
If you want to learn how to write a naive character, you have to think like the most naive kind of people in the world: kids. Kids don’t know much about the world. They’ve been around for a little time only. They’re small and fragile and with no sense of what’s good or bad for them. They don’t know social rules, so they don’t mind screaming in front of everybody, crying freely, and doing things without thinking about the physical and social consequences of that. So, how to write a naive character? Think about if the actions of your character would fit the actions of a little kid. If so, you’re following the right track.
How to Write a Naive Character: “Why” is your best friend
Just like the tip above, kids ask a lot of ‘why’ because they literally have no clue what’s going on and how the world works. Your character should be the same. Make them ask ‘why’ for literally everything, even if it’s pretty obvious. How to write a naive character? If you want to make them truly naive, they must ask questions about everything, even if it’s annoying to other characters. “Why are you trying to kiss me?” is a good one for a romance novel. “Why are we learning to use guns?” is a good one for action. This will make for some interesting dialogue and situations in your book as the other characters learn to answer and adapt to your naive character.
How to Write a Naive Character: Don’t be afraid of being socially awkward
Not understanding what’s going on is the core of a naive character, so you as a writer can’t be afraid of being AWKWARD. In real life, people usually wouldn’t be so naive and not understand the situation – but your character will. This will probably make the other characters feel awkward or embarrassed, or maybe even pity the naive character.
An example could be: your naive character won’t understand that the others are playing a prank on them. They could ask “why do you want me to take my pants off?”, genuinely not having a clue that could be embarrassing and bad. They’d proceed to do as told because they don’t know that could be bad.
Or maybe in a sex scene, they could say: “what movie are we going to watch on Netlix? I can’t wait to Netflix and chill. Why are you taking off your shirt?”
They can’t be sarcastic or say that meaning something else. They have to genuinely be clueless about society.
How to Write a Naive Character: Watch other naive characters
It’s always good doing research and watching or reading about other naive characters. A good example could be Sheldon Cooper. He has no idea of the social rules around him and he asks the most naive questions ever. So, do some research on naive characters and do what every writer does best – copy – I mean, get inspired.
How to Write a Naive Character: Common sense is not a thing here
Finally, the best tip I can give you on how to write a naive character is to forget common sense. You have to think that your character simply doesn’t understand what’s going on around them enough. So, for example, everybody knows not to trust the blonde mean girl at school. Your character doesn’t. They go ahead and trust her. Everybody knows not to accept a stranger’s drink in the club. Your character doesn’t. They go ahead and accept it because they don’t think something bad might happen.
So, if you want to know if you’re going in the right direction while writing a naive character, think about common sense. If there’s a lot of common sense or “everybody would know/do that”, then go in the opposite direction.
How to Write a Naive Character: Final thoughts
I hope this helped you with how to write a naive character. They aren’t stupid, they’re just simple. Maybe they can grow and change throughout the story or maybe they’ll keep their child’s heart. That’s up to you. Don’t forget to give them other traits too, so they get really well-developed, and good luck.