So, for those who have been following lately, you’ll know I’ve been doing Top Ten Tuesday. I didn’t particularly like the topic yesterday, so I skipped it. Plus, I was out to dinner with friends. Which inspired me to write this post.
Three of my friends and I went to a local brewery. Now, I’m not much for beer and such, but I don’t mind trying a sip every now and then. One of my friends and I shared a “flight” of beer, which is basically four very small glasses of beer samples.
While tasting said beer (which I wasn’t too keen on), I realized that every sip I took, I had my pinky finger up, like they always say to do in manner/etiquette classes. Pinkies up!
It’s not the first time I’ve noticed this. No matter what beverage I’m drinking – water, tea, soda, lemonade, cider, beer, wine, etc. – I invariably have my pinky finger up. Isn’t that weird? I guess it’s just a habit from when I was younger, but I think it’s hilarious!
Which brought me to my topic: the quirks and quandaries of our characters.
In order to make a character believable, we have to make sure they have quirks, tics, habits, etc. that make them appear “normal.” (I hate that word). But if a character isn’t relatable with little tidbits like this (along with a good POV and voice), then we’ll have lost our audience. Now, not every character needs to be 100% relatable, but we must (or should) see something of ourselves or of someone we know in most of the characters we read about. There are (or should be) few characters that have nothing in common with anyone but themselves, and they’re usually villains. But even there, we can find a semblance of the darker side we all have. Some measure of greed, selfishness, hatred, cruelty, arrogance, etc.
Overall, however, characters must relate to each other and to the reader. Or at least let the reader imagine they could be like that character. Quirks make characters real.
I’ll give you a couple quirks of my MC and a few of her friends…
Ava (MC): scratches the back of her neck, trips over her feet a lot
Ruth: apologizes too much (which can be annoying), and worries about her weight
Charlie: loses his temper quickly, kicks the ground with his toes when he’s frustrated
Zeke: always has a plant somewhere on his person because he’s studying them, easily gets into trouble (usually with Ava).
Those are my four primary characters in my MG fantasy series. There are many other things that distinguish them from each other and the people they interact with in the book, but these are just a couple things that show their distinct nature. You can probably tell a bit about each character just by knowing those two things about them.
What about your characters? What quirks set them apart from other characters? Or what little things make them relatable to the reading population? If you need some ideas, go here. He is freely giving away good trait ideas if your character needs a tune-up.
“I don’t know. Just because someone’s pretty doesn’t mean she’s decent. Or vice versa. I’m not into appearances. I like flaws, I think they make things interesting.”
― Sarah Dessen, The Truth About Forever