Thursday, April 19, 2012

Q is for...


Quirks? But I thought you'd be writing about queries for sure. But soon. Very soon my life will encompass all things query and queriable (is that a word?). But for now let's just focus on all things queer. Just queer. Quirks, we like to call them.

Everybody has one. Even those who vehemently deny owning one. Even the poorest and most destitute have one. So really, we're never without "nothing" even though it feels that way, or we'd like to think we are.

But never fear! Quirks are what make us unique. They are what set us apart from others. They are what attract others to us, or repel them. And in writing, they are crucial to separating one character from another.

Could you imagine how boring a story would be if everyone was exactly the same? If everyone was pretty, kind, and no one picked their nose? Boooooooooooring.  And totally unrealistic. Even in realistic fiction. Especially in realistic fiction.

In order for our characters to be real to us, they need to have something we can use to separate them from others and give them character. Someone picks their nose. A lot. Someone has a half smile. Or no smile. Ever. My daughter actually knows someone like that. And he's a happy guy. He just NEVER smiles. It's weird. It begs for more backstory. It makes him interesting!

Embrace the quirkiness and give it to your characters.  Maybe it's not a physical trait, but something they wear. Or something they DO. Quirks are great enablers to plot lines as well and in dropping clues where you need them.  Like your protagonist being spotted coming out of the school bathroom wearing an all too telling red sweater that you've seen the nerdy guy wearing every Friday for the entire year.  WHAT just happened?????  Oh begs for a response.

So what are some of your favorite character quirks? What about ones you've noticed in books you've read? What about ones you've noticed in your neighbors? (That didn't require peeking through their bedroom windows.)


  1. Hello, Karen! You're so right that the world would be super dull if we were all the same. I love quirky characters in literature (and life!). They're the most memorable for sure!!

    Have a lovely weekend and happy A to Z!!

    1. PS) The name of your blog is SO clever!! Love it!

  2. Ooo, there is a lot of them between us, I call them characters.


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