On Quirks…

I read signs aloud and count random things. (Such as, there were two words in the last sentence that started with ‘R’. That is the kind of stuff I count.) To others, these may be more like pet peeves. I hate holes in my socks. Or other people socks. Or any socks. Anyway, to get to my point. We need them. Not just because it makes individuals, and us who we are and unique… just like everyone else.

            We, as writers, need them, because our characters need them. How many times have you been reading a story and the character is just a character. There is nothing said about how they love to eat marshmallows with chocolate and cheerios, the fact that they just have to jog a different route during the summer because they hat the ice cream truck’s music,  or the fact that they just hate pink painted toe nails. All the story said about them was their job. And maybe what they looked like, which most readers end up detesting anyway.

            The characters need quirks! They must have pet peeves! Otherwise, they fail at being a likable protagonist, and at best just become a forgettable character in a story with a likeable plot. C’mon, give the reader something they will remember. For example, in Joanna Carl’s Chocolate Mysteries, the main character Lee McKinney gets tongue tangled when she gets nervous. Which can be pretty hysterical. Another example is… well, is… See? I can’t think of any others! Memorable characters need quirks and pet peeves that are relatable or, you know, memorable. What are your quirks, or quirks from characters in stories you’ve read that you remember?


3 thoughts on “On Quirks…

  1. This is valuable advise! Do you get most of your inspiration for quirks from yourself? I have a hard time knowing my quirks. I guess I’ll have to ask friends. Pet peeves? I hate it when people criticize others without established authority.

  2. Hmm, I don’t know where I get quirks to give to my characters. I suppose watching movies and reading books has given me ideas. My own quirks I only recently realized I had. And I don’t mean to criticize those people who have holes in their socks, it just sends chills up and down my spine!

  3. Oh my.. this is wonderful. Can any of us write any type of quality fiction, poetry or narrative without being one of society’s best quirk-characters. I, for one, have been called quirky more times than I would like to admit. (I count too, make words out of license plates, always have songs in my head and at the same time, words, ideas and unstoppable thoughts on what I need to be writing about next (and next, and next) time. 🙂
    Take joy in your quirkiness, it is the arm, as you so wisely say, of your creativity!

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