Monday, July 7, 2014

Stereotypes: The Nerd

One of the biggest stereotypes when it comes to characters is the nerd. Picture a person with glasses, a pocket protector, weird style, and random knowledge, and you have a stereotypical nerd. But nerdsreal nerds, that isare so much more and so much different than that.

Let's start off by saying that not all nerds are the same. There are many different kinds of nerds, and they're not all shown that much in literature, so using different types of nerds is a good way to stray from the stereotype.

  • Knowledge Nerd - This is the nerd who knows all kinds of random facts relating to math, science, history, English, or another field (and in some cases, all of these fields) and tells them to everyone, regardless of if the other person cares or not. Obviously, this kind of nerd can be a bit more annoying. 
    • History Nerd - Under the spectrum of knowledge nerds, there are many different types of nerds, one of which is the history nerd. A history nerd knows practically everything there is to know about wars, colonization, and anything else they can find under the broad spectrum of history. 
    • Science/Math Nerd - Most nerds who are interested heavily in science or math, are interested in both of the two studies due to how related they can be in many cases. This is the nerd who researches color-blindness for two hours just because they can. This is the nerd who does extra math worksheets out of sheer boredom. 
    • English Nerd - This is the type of nerd that writers fall into more often than not. We know our lie from our lay and are sometime referred to as "Grammar Nazis" because of how much these things irritate us when done incorrectly. 
  • Book Nerd - Similar to the above mentioned English nerd, a book nerd is into books and reading with a passion. If they get a book, expect them to be finished with it within a week or two, that is, unless it goes at the bottom of their stack of books they still need to read (or reread). 
  • Science Fiction Nerd - A science fiction nerd can be similar to a knowledge nerd, in that they know a lot about something in the same way. But science fiction nerds are more interested in the latest episode of Doctor Who, rather than who first designed the light bulb. 
    • Note - There are some science fiction nerds who, instead of being interested in science fiction in general, are interested in one specific part of science fiction, such as a specific television show, or movie franchise. Examples of these include Whovians (fans of Doctor Who) and Trekkies (fans of any/all of the television shows and movies included in the Star Trek franchise). Of course, there are many other specific franchises that science fiction nerds follow in the same way. 
  • Comic Book/Superhero Nerd - This kind of nerd watches all of the superhero movies not just to see their favourite superhero in action, but also to pick out any and all inaccuracies with the comic books which they own. They are usually passionate over why either Marvel, or DC Comics wins out, and have a compelling argument as to why. 
  • Band Nerd (or Band Geek) - The terms band nerd and band geek both refer to the nerds who focus on instruments intensely. These are the kids who come to school early every day in the fall for marching band practice and are busy practicing at home.
One thing you might be thinking after reading those is that they sound almost like they're stereotypes themselves (and even if you weren't thinking that, pretend you were so the next paragraph makes sense). And, in thinking that, you'd probably be right. The way you keep it from being too stereotypical is to have one character be multiple types of nerds, or be one of these types of nerds, and an athlete or a drama queen. If you have an athletic science fiction and history nerd, you're completely out of the stereotypical nerd.

I know that sometimes, though, you have one character who doesn't fit into any of the other characteristics other than the nerdy things. And that's okay, too, just as long as all of your characters aren't like that. Does that mean you should right a nerd who's the exact stereotype? Absolutely not. Make them a band and comic book nerd, or a book and science fiction nerd.

Did I miss any types of nerds? Do you have any advice on how to make a more well-rounded, yet still nerdy character? Let me know in the comments.


  1. Love your breakdown of the different kinds of nerds. I'm starting to think that my nerd is a very stereotypical knowledge nerd, in science mostly. But he was born a mutant genius, and has two degrees at age nineteen, so hopefully that makes his nerdiness a little better. I do try and make sure that he has outside interests, and that he's not shy or overly awkward. He's ok around people, and just happens to be the absent minded genius with the mismatching socks. I'm starting to think I'm going to have to tweak his character a bit though, to make sure he's not too stereotypical.

    1. I'm glad you liked the post. He doesn't sound too overly stereotypical, and it sounds like you have a pretty could handle on it. I hope you work everything out!

  2. I just wanted to let you know that I've nominated you for the Sunshine Award on my blog.

  3. Aaand I suddenly have the desire to inflict nerdhood on one of my charries. Thanks. :)

    1. I'm glad you liked the post. It was fun for me to write as well because most of what I wrote was from personal experience (which also meant I didn't have much research to do). And nerdiness is always a good aspect to inflict on charries.