1. DeathandGrim
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    DeathandGrim Contributing Member

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    Your favorite character quirk

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by DeathandGrim, Nov 20, 2015.

    What's a favorite quirk of one of your characters?

    I'll start with one of my characters, Violet, and her odd obsession with the color purple. Which extends to he inquiry of it whenever she has to buy something. She'll ask "does it come in purple?" Even food.
     
  2. theoriginalmonsterman
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    theoriginalmonsterman Pickle Contest Administrator Contributor

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    I don't really have my own character, but to still contribute to the topic of "quirks" I'd have to say my favorite character with a quirk (well actually more than one) would be Kramer from Seinfeld. Probably the quirkiest character there's ever been. XD
     
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  3. Nemean
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    Nemean New Member

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    Not from one of my own characters, but I'm still impressed with the comedy potential of a character with a severe bondage fetish, Shiro from Bokura wa Minna Kawaisou. He's like a ticking time bomb that can lead anyone into an embarrassing and hilarious situation.
     
  4. Simpson17866
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    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have one character doesn't use relative pronouns if I can possibly avoid them.

    ... That's it, that's all I've got. I feel I do a good job of distinguishing between my characters more holistically, but this is the most specifically "quirky" thing I can think of right now.
     
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  5. The-Crow-Goddess
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    The-Crow-Goddess Member

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    I wrote a short story in middle school about this girl staying with her grandmother for a summer, and her grandmother's house also happens to be haunted, and the grandmother is fully aware and in fact she's really deep into the occult. But anyway, the girl is an odd-ball and one of her quirks is that she only opens doors a crack when she goes into a room and then she turns sideways and slips through.

    The girl turns out to have magical powers like her grandmother, if you haven't guessed already.

    EDIT: Terry Pratchett's books about witches have many, many characters with strange little quirks. In the books he says something along the lines of "every witch has some weirdness, so it's best to get it out of the way early on". For example, one witch girl starts wearing her long hair in a bun and she pins the bun up with a fork and a spoon. The main character Tiffany Aching isn't good at riding brooms and she can't make it turn directions while she's riding them, so she has to get off and turn the broom in a different direction and then get back on and go whenever she needs to.

    There's also an old witch who had a twin that died, and now whenever she's doing chores or whatever around her house, she telepathically moves things, so it's like her twin is still there helping her with an invisible pair of hands. In one scene she's bustling around the kitchen making some tea and while she gets the boiling kettle, a cabinet opens behind her and the tea cups levitate down by themselves, and when she goes to get the sugar bowl, a spoon levitates out of a drawer. I also don't think this character was aware that she was doing this until later on in the story, because Tiffany thought it would be rude to point it out.

    Pratchett was a genius at creating screw-ball characters, read his books and you will find the oddest quirks imaginable.
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2015
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  6. Bryan Romer
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    Bryan Romer Contributing Member Contributor

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    I know very few people in real life who have easily identifiable "quirks". Similarly I don't use them as a deliberate feature in my characters. They have likes and dislikes, and they have their own set of morals or lack of them. They act according to their culture, social upbringing, class, economic status etc.
     
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  7. R.P. Kraul
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    R.P. Kraul Member

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    Lying is something that's underused in fiction--except for negative characters. It's as though lying and not lying is some line in the sand between good and evil, but it isn't. People lie to protect themselves and others. Too many MCs in fiction are strictly by the book.
     
  8. NeighborVoid
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    NeighborVoid Active Member

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    Gotta love those nonchalant passive troll characters with blue and orange morality. Especially if he/she is the MC.
     
  9. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Most of the time I like my little side characters quirks because I don't usually give my mc quirks - well, not that I notice. In my WIP which takes place in a prison, one of the characters is a man who sells books to the inmates. But he rips them in half - charging more for the end piece.

    And when I expanded Not Pink I created a scene with Loren's robot, previously just mentioned in passing in the first draft, Mr. Wilde, who has a thing for Tom Jones records.
     
  10. SethLoki
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    SethLoki Unemployed Autodidact Contributor

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    I love to bedeck my characters with quirks; the kind of writing I do oft requires I have the inhabitants of my stories be in some way an exaggeration or caricature of those we meet day to day. Both physical and mental: Tics, twitches, malapropisms, awkward turns of phrase right across to a bald man who ran a hand over his smooth bonce; a throwback to his youth when there was once a bit of hair about the place for fingers to have slid through.
    My favourite one though was a character called Jo, who counted, counted everything in his mind: cars passing, leaves on the pavement, pearls on a necklace, tea leaves in a cup—couldn't help himself. This slowed his speech as he was always doubly engaged and had anyone he spoke to think him dim.
     
  11. xanadu
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    xanadu Contributing Member Contributor

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    My newest story has a main character who insists on wearing mismatched socks. She'll have a reason for it eventually, once I think of something that makes sense.
     
  12. SethLoki
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    SethLoki Unemployed Autodidact Contributor

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    Seems very odd to me. Can we pair her up with Jo?
     
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  13. xanadu
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    xanadu Contributing Member Contributor

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    Haha, unfortunately she'll have her own love interest who's pretty critical to the plot!
     
  14. SethLoki
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    SethLoki Unemployed Autodidact Contributor

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    OO, you gave me a portmanteaux there: prettycal. < I wish that was a word. I'll tell Jo it's a no go and to get back to his abacus.
     
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  15. Lew
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    Lew Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't plan quirks into my characters, because I don't plan characters. But some of my characters do have quirks which emerge, and the reason for that quirk emerges as they tell their story.

    My male MC is a Roman centurion, mid forties, 25 years in the army, who speaks a fractured soldier's Latin that I depict as sort of cockney-esque, trying to capture the slurring and bad grammar. Obviously as the 'first lance" senior centurion of the legion, he is supremely self-confident among men. However, he is shy and tongue-tied around nice women. Seemed out when he first meets my female MC, on a ship enroute to China, he could barely talk to her. The scene is almost amusing,he is so flustered by talking with her he calls her "domina" or lady, which far above where she sees herself and how anyone has ever treated her.

    As it turns out, probably like most Roman soldiers of the era, his relations with women had been transient, usually commercial. They were forbidden to marry, and while many picked up temporary accommodations with camp followers, they couldn't live with them and they and any children were left on their own if the legion deployed, as it often did. Antonius never went that route. So his women had been sluts and whores... proper women were above his station in life. And very late in the book we find that his introduction to sex came at 17, participating in the gang-rape of a captive German woman with 5 older soldiers. He remembered the look on her face when the older squad leader said, "you can go now, we're done with you." Not to slavery, not anything, just... to go. That affected Antonius deeply, and he strongly forebade that as he came to leadership positions, threatening colorful things he would do with his hickory stick to any soldier who raped a captive.

    Antonius gets past his quirk, and forms an innocent friendship with Marcia, which later on reaches a most unlikely culmination and marriage.

    Quirky, or just human?
     
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  16. tristan.n
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    tristan.n Active Member

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    One of my characters consistently uses incorrect words that sound like the words he should have used. At one point, he says "He seemed rather malleable to me," to which his friend responds, "You mean amiable."
     
  17. SethLoki
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    SethLoki Unemployed Autodidact Contributor

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    That's a malapropism* that, I've noticed it's quite common in the elderly. Maybe it's the brain being lazy or trying to save space as it becomes full up. Like this very seasoned old guy in the nursing home fancying his chances and wanting to woo one of the nurses. Chatting her up and claiming he was a very 'effluent' man.

    *search for Mrs Malaprop
     
  18. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have a girl that is a troll! She has a quirk in which she is compelled to steal ID cards. Though, she has to do it undetected. She will refuse to take it if she is spotted in the act. And she is always thinking about this. Like if you met her and you and her are exchanging names, her first thought is usually. "Can I steal his ID card? Would he be able to catch me? Is the situation to overt to the point he would know it was me later?"

    If I haven't made it clear yet. One time she was in a different country on business. She couldn't sleep. So she broke into the other hotel rooms at the place she was stealing and started stealing ID cards. Stealing up to 50 before she got tired and went to bed.

    She actually keeps the stack of them in a safe. She throws the ones that expire out though.
     
  19. SilentDreamer
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    SilentDreamer Member

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    My favourite quirky character by someone else is - Luggage from Terry Pratchett's Discworld series. It doesn't say much if anything, and rarely has expressions, but gets it's point across...I think it's awesome.

    I'm trying to think of quirks - I did have a character who had the voices of his dead brothers (was a triplet, others died at birth) in his head - they grew up with him....they are usually helpful, though one's a dreamer and the other's a grump.
     
  20. Vellidragon
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    Vellidragon Member

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    I don't feel I'm writing very quirky characters for my semi-serious Fantasy writing. I'm not sure if they really get any more interesting than the obligatory (for me) food-obsessed character. On second thought, I've written a character who rides a fish and can move his eyes independently of each other, so maybe I'm just not noticing the strange things that much. My second book also has a whole tribe of characters whose sentences basically express the same thing twice in different word orders, combined into a single sentence. Writing their dialogue was definitely something.

    My comic is probably more qualified for my favourites since it's a cartoony humour thing and the characters are nothing but quirks. I think my favourite one I've written for that so far is a side character who can't speak due to a plague doctor mask he never takes off and holds up text balloons as actual physical objects.
     
  21. ddavidv
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    ddavidv Contributing Member

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    I had a character who would nervously fidget with her wedding ring. The ring was a central piece to the plot so it helped draw attention to it without actually explaining anything about it until the right time (the character was not actually married).

    My other girl MC listens to her conscience frequently. It often tells her to "Think" when she is about to do something rash or dangerous. She has little back-and-forth arguments with it on occasion. After two books of this quirk I have her seeking psychiatric help, LOL. She also curses creatively and applying it where most people would not, such as exclaiming "F*cktacular". Her bad language reflects on her upbringing and most of my other characters contrast to her lack of tact.
     
  22. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    MC wears a gasmask to hide his burnt face, also for intimidation factor in combat. Though typically without a filter, but can use it for intended purpose if necessary.

    Another MC has a habit of putting his feet on desks, tables, and consoles.

    Have an entire Alien race that is overly polite, unless intoxicated. :p
     
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  23. Commandante Lemming
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    Commandante Lemming Contributing Member Contributor

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    Oh gosh - with my protagonist it's her Star Trek fandom always leaking out at weird times.

    My sidekick is kind of fun in that she's a fashion reporter but really rebels against certain aspects of the 2034 future culture I've put her in - which is strangely obsessed with 1950s/early '60s themes. She insists on wearing clothing with glow-in-the-dark elements all the time even though the prevailing retro youth culture really rejects glowing anything as campy and out of style (seriously, glow-hair is SO 2025!)

    But I think my favorite quirks come out in the side characters.

    I have one character who really likes spice in everything - she's always ordering spicy Chinese food or chewing cinnamon gum or whatever, but I even made myself giggle when I realized that she always puts a dash of cayenne pepper in her morning coffee. She's also a bit of a technophobe and she has a tendency to get in yelling matches with the voice-interfaces on household appliances (I've had her blow up at both the microwave and the office coffee-maker).

    Another one I really like is my villain's secretary - who is the daughter of the famous dean of the Women's Studies department at Yale. So whenever I drop into her POV, she has a tendency to casually use college-level feminist academic jargon in normal speech. So you see big words like "heteronormativity" just pop up randomly, because for her that vocabulary has been around her since birth.
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2015
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  24. xanadu
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    xanadu Contributing Member Contributor

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    @Commandante Lemming, those characters all sound hilarious!
     
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  25. Commandante Lemming
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    Commandante Lemming Contributing Member Contributor

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    Haha. Glad you like them. The story is a drama and can get a bit dark but I like having fun people in it.
     
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