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  1. Melanippe

    Melanippe New Member

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    Memorable Character Quirks

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Melanippe, May 1, 2014.

    What are some memorable quirks you have used to flesh out your characters? It can be a verbal tick, some habit or personality trait that makes them interesting.

    For example: I have a cruel, merciless character who works as a hit man, and is very amoral to the point of having no qualms about torturing his allies. He is also a vegetarian, religiously sends support checks to his baby daughter and estranged wife, and is scrupulously polite to women.
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2014
  2. Jak of Hearts

    Jak of Hearts Member

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    One of my favorites is a theif who suffers from severe anxiety attacks at several points. Her way of dealing with them is a bag of coloring books and crayons she carries. She'll run off somewhere private and start coloring to calm her nerves.
     
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  3. ddavidv

    ddavidv Contributing Member

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    My first novel featured a female MC who would absently toy and spin the wedding band on her left hand. Partway through the book she confesses she has never been married, so the ring becomes a key plot device.

    My current MC has an inner voice (conscience, I suppose) that, whenever she is in a bind, calms her with just one word: Think. She does not have a lot of self-confidence, but as she encounters trials the nagging Think shows her that she is smart and clever enough to work her way out of most anything the Evil Author throws at her.
     
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  4. Thomas Kitchen

    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    Sounds like a very interesting book. I'd buy it. :)
     
  5. Thomas Kitchen

    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    Sounds like a very interesting book. I'd buy it. :)
     
  6. T.Trian

    T.Trian Overly Pompous Bastard Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I've written so many MCs that it's hard to pick one, but if I chose from the most eccentric end, I'd pick these three:

    The first walking quirk-fest is a physically frail noble girl, birdboned and sickly. Even her hair is prematurely gray even though she's 19, her complexion is corpse-like, and she has large, creepy eyes and tends to stare at people a lot without saying a word.
    She's exceedingly courteous and refined, curtsies often when thanking people, but is ashamed of her bad stutter which often creates a vicious circle: she gets nervous when she stutters, but when she gets nervous, she stutters even more, so she gets more nervous etc.
    Although there's nothing vampiric about her, she likes the taste of blood (her family physician prescribed her a glass a day to help with her anemia), but often her day's calorie intake consists of little more than that glass of blood and water. Since blood tends to curdle in a person's stomach, sometimes she vomits it out, spewing dark, chunky blood, much to the disgust of her friends.
    And she often gets profuse nosebleeds and, as a result, gets lightheaded and sometimes even passes out, so all this combined makes her travels through a war-torn country rather challenging.

    Then we have a 20yo guy who's proud, but really feels no shame/embarrassment at all. E.g. when he wanted to be thrown into the brig to be with his imprisoned love interest, he burst into a room full of law enforcement officers, including women, completely naked (save for his boots), doing the helicopter and chanting and yoddling in gibberish.
    He loves girls/women more than anything, but his entire life revolves around finding True Love and when he does, he's willing to kill for it. When a man assaults his girlfriend (while he's not present), he hunts down the man, beats him up, cuts off his finger, boils it at home (so he can remove all the flesh and tendons), and makes her a necklace out of it (which she, of course, loves since they're alike in this regard).
    He also has a tendency to blurt strange observations that have nothing to do with the problem at hand (e.g. noticing odd but utterly useless details around him).
    One of his flaws is that he's so afraid to appear discourteous to a girl/hurt her feelings that he often ends up in big trouble because of it, e.g. when a mentally unstable girl latches onto him and eventually demands to be his girlfriend or she'll go to the cops and accuse him of hurting her, and, on another occasion, he's completely oblivious that another girl is obsessed with him even though he's married (he just doesn't believe anyone else but his wife could truly be into him that strongly).

    Lastly we have a 26yo misandrist shaman. She absolutely hates all men (and fears them, but she denies this even to herself), adores women, and has her dead kid sister's bone (the interphalangeal joint) dangling in her earlobe (kinda like a piercing) to allow her to converse with the sister's ghost, which looks to others like she's talking to herself.
    Being a shaman, she's like a midwife to the dead and likes traveling between dimensions (although she can't take her body along for the ride), especially to hang out with her dead sister. With every other girl/woman she's very kind and gentle, but the only way she knows how to show affection towards her sister is by sisterly bickering and arguing.
    She's also sarcastic and doesn't hesitate to insult the men she's dealing with while offering whatever help she can to the females she encounters, so when there's a scene with her, a man, and a woman, she comes off almost like a nutjob, switching back and forth from malicious and sarcastic to kind and caring literally in the blink of an eye.
     
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  7. nippy818

    nippy818 Active Member

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    what i am currently writing is POV from my MC. His biggest quirk is that he often day dreams and his train of thought travels away from whats going. so some of the story is lost on his day dream.
     
  8. Uberwatch

    Uberwatch Active Member

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    I wrote a secondary character that kept saying "ya know?" after every end of each sentence. I got annoyed by it myself.
     
  9. Daemantalo Nyrin

    Daemantalo Nyrin New Member

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    Not really a quirk you could say, but I have a character who completely refuses to use a cellphone or a landline. He's completely paranoid about being eavesdropped on, so whenever he needs to make a phone call, he walks two miles in order to talk. He lives alone and is a delivery pizza boy.
     
  10. nippy818

    nippy818 Active Member

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    Not trying to cut you down. I delivered pizza for 3 years and its impossible to go a day without using a phone. calling the customers and the shop. perhaps he could use a burn phone or replace his phone every few days.
     
  11. Daemantalo Nyrin

    Daemantalo Nyrin New Member

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    The more you hear from a person, the more you learn, so I don't take it as a cutdown. :) It was just a short story for me anyways and it had something bigger other than being an "ordinary" pizza delivery man. You would definitely know more than I would about an average day in the shoes of a delivery boy with that kind of experience. I honestly wasn't aware that delivery boys called customers though. I did have him calling the shop constantly on random generic payphones in front of liquor stores though. It sounded a bit better in my head at the time.
     
  12. AlannaHart

    AlannaHart Contributing Member

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    I have a character that could kill any enemy in seconds but has a hissy fit/ panic attack at the sight of blood or any kind of mess on his skin.
     
  13. RLJ

    RLJ Member

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    I had a character--a socialite--that would finger and fidget with a diamond bracelet whenever she was uncomfortable of angry or nervous. But I would never directly say that she was angry. Something would happen in a given situation and it would be her messing with the bracelet. I relied on that bracelet so much it got to the point where that was the only way you would know something was wrong with my character. Needless to say, it resulted in a lot of editing. You have to be careful with quirks or you'll end up in a situation like me.
     
  14. cutecat22

    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    I have a character who asks questions by raising one eyebrow.

    (which I've just realised, is something I do)
     
  15. nhope

    nhope Contributing Member Reviewer

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    I work with a guy that, when he pauses in conversation, looks past me, like there is someone inching up behind me and he is just going to let it happen. I've thought about using that but it creeps me out too much. Whenever I think about someone being behind me, I begin to feel there is actually someone behind me.
     
  16. Khushboo

    Khushboo New Member

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    I have been thinking of a character who engineers pain in different parts of his body. He does this periodically. His reason for doing this is to be more aware the geography of his body, somehow pain draws his attention to that area, reminds him of forgotten physical mass.

    Another one is not a quirk, but an unusual character of a blind photographer. I wrote the character sketch for friend's film. The initial idea came from watching the documentary Janela da Alma. It is a wonderful film where the filmmakers have explored ‘seeing’ as a visceral idea. The eye as felt by Wim Wenders, Jose Saramago, Agnes Varda and others. The blind photographer, Evgan Bavcar, was more striking than anyone else. He spoke too fast almost as if time was a tight suit which his sentences persistently tried to tear out of. I remember thinking about him long afterwards, about what his pictures mean to him: a wound he could show others, a keystone to an absence, a talisman for a memory that others may reconstruct with their vision.
     
  17. AlannaHart

    AlannaHart Contributing Member

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    Ahhhhhhh my foot! Oh yeah! I have feet.
     
  18. Khushboo

    Khushboo New Member

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    Yes its that literal
     
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