Character Development (Part 2)


In the last post, we went over what character development was and what we could learn from Batman. That was the first in a seven part series on character development. Today, we’ll take a look at the importance of quirks. Enjoy!

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Quirks.

It sounds kind of silly doesn’t it?

Quirks.

But then again, everything sounds silly if you think about it long enough.

Ring. It’s a common enough word. Say that several times very slowly and think about it. Ridiculous, right?Character Development (Part 2) -- Quirks!

Anyway, quirks.

Why are they so important to writing? Characters make the novel. Plot helps, but most of the time, you can keep readers reading if you have interesting, believable, relateable characters. They cover up a multitude of flaws, some of them pretty big! So, what’s a quirk?

It’s the little things someone does. Personality traits. Mannerisms. Things that make someone unique (notice this last one doesn’t necessarily refer to a personality trait, but can also imply physical characteristics as well, though I doubt that would be considered a quirk). This is the reason they’re so important. Without making a character unique, your readers will find them boring. Give them a personality. Quirks can also reveal something about a character.

For instance, in the first episode of “Sherlock,” Sherlock Holmes notices that Watson stands as if he’s forgotten that he was standing, thus revealing that Watson was in the military. He’d have to be used to standing a lot and after a while, he’d have gotten used to it.

A tattoo of a tear would expose the fact that that person had killed another.

Following is a list of quirks you might want to look through. Believe me, they help bring a character to life. People like to know the little things. 😉 Now, I’ve researched lists of quirks, so I’ll just include the original links at the end of the post.

  1. Has a noticeable Tattoo
  2. Has a noticeable scar from a weapon
  3. Puts hand on someone else’s hand/arm/shoulder/leg as much as possible when talking
  4. Has a noticeable burn scar
  5. Has a Piercing
  6. Has extremely hairy arms
  7. Is bald
  8. Cracks his/her neck all the time
  9. Has a noticeable birthmark
  10. Has vividly blue hair
  11. Looks just like another character, or a famous figure of the day
  12. His/her feet are incredibly bad-smelling
  13. He has no beard
  14. He/she has allergies (To give more depth, give strong allergic reactions to the common nasty ones like nuts, bee stings, strawberries, pollen, cow’s milk, cats, horses, etc.)
  15. Has a very, very bushy mustache
  16. Is gassy
  17. Has a limp
  18. Walks as if he/she is in constant danger of being attacked
  19. Walks as if he/she is afraid of being followed
  20. Always gets a sunburn
  21. Urinates frequently
  22. Sneezes extra loud
  23. Foams at the mouth when excited/angry
  24. Drools when hungry/excited
  25. Has several hidden body piercings or tattoos that regular clothing conceal
  26. Always stands with his or her hands behind their back, sometimes in an “at ease” position, though he/she was never in the military
  27. Thrives in cold weather, hates warm weather
  28. Thrives in hot weather, hates cold weather
  29. Incessantly cracks knuckles
  30. Has several parts of his or her body that are double jointed and bend or flex in an unnatural or uncanny manner
  31. Writes with left hand, but does everything else right-handed
  32. Is exclusively left-handed
  33. Can only see out of one eye
  34. Can only hear out of one ear
  35. Squints a lot
  36. Drags his or her feet
  37. Profusely sweats even when at rest
  38. Can’t stay clean; always dirty
  39. Loves a certain food, possibly to the point of an obsession or fetish. (example: I like grape flavors!)
  40. Taps his/her foot when bored or nervous.
  41. Has a Rubiks cube or some other toy that he/she will often fidget with.
  42. Likes to mess with or deconstruct words and the English language. (example: mispronouncing words purposefully, speaking in a grammatically incorrect manner)
  43. Always seems to have untied shoelaces.
  44. Likes to go around barefoot whenever he/she can.
  45. Always wears shorts/long pants, no matter the weather.
  46. Likes to randomly burst out singing or narrate his/her actions in song. (example: Disney princesses. I have actually met people in real life that do this.)
  47. Randomly wanders or paces when bored, even at odd times (the middle of the night, in class, etc.)
  48. Is good at braiding hair.
  49. Has a very bouncy/springy walk.
  50. Or a very dejected/shuffley walk, and tends to drag his/her feet.
  51. Likes to sit on the arms of couches and chairs instead of the actual seat.
  52. Has a favorite comeback or catchphrase that he/she always resorts to (“that’s what she said”, “or not”, etc.)
  53. Refuses to curse, period. He/she may also get upset when others do.
  54. Is a total grammar Nazi, in writing and/or speaking.
  55. Hates slang and corrects people who use it. Or you could go the other way around and s/he always uses sland and informal language, even for formal occasions.
  56. Tends to space out while staring at someone.
  57. Can do weird things with a part of his/her body (double-jointed).
  58. Sees a reference in practically everything.
  59. Accidentally flirts without realizing it.
  60. Has a bad habit of winking without realizing it.
  61. Is a hugger (or just generally a touchy-feely person).
  62. Hates a certain color.
  63. Can’t stand being hugged or touched. This may lead to the character’s friends teasing him/her or trying to hug him/her anyway.
  64. Is extremely ticklish.
  65. Collects mundane or unusual items (business cards, toothpicks, mutated candy, etc.)
  66. Can’t bear to throw anything away.
  67. Refuses to hurt any animal, even insects.
  68. Always wears cheap sunglasses, even indoors.
  69. Finds everything funny, and will laugh at every joke, even if the other characters (and the reader) don’t find it particularly humorous.
  70. Always has to be snacking on something.
  71. Is extremely gullible and falls for even the most obvious sarcasm.
  72. Bites his/her nails when nervous.
  73. Always has gum with him/her.
  74. Likes to hide out in weird places (closets, under the bed or table, in a tree, etc.)
  75. Can’t pour anything without spilling.
  76. Can quote almost any movie or TV show.
  77. Has a stutter, lisp, or other speech impediment. It’s a good idea to not write this out in dialogue, especially if it’s a lisp or unusual accent, as it’s hard for readers to decipher what’s being said if everything is spelled funny. (NOTE FROM RANA: I think it’s fine to write it out as long as you keep it to a minimum. 🙂 Otherwise, people will forget they have an impediment.)
  78. Has an unusually deep or high-pitched voice.
  79. Owns more pairs of shoes than other characters think is humanly possible. Or vice versa: he/she only owns one pair that he/she always wears, no matter the occasion.
  80. Always has to borrow pens/pencils/paper, and doesn’t always give them back.
  81. Always bumps into/knocks over things.
  82. Knows a lot of useless trivia.
  83. Is an extremely slow/fast walker. Or, he/she can never walk in a straight line and always manages to cut everyone off.
  84. Always shreds things in his/her pocket or on his/her lap (napkins, scraps of paper, etc.)
  85. Always wears colorful, unique, or mismatched socks.
  86. Likes to use bad puns.
  87. Hits on/flirts with every member of the opposite gender even if s/he is already in a relationship.
  88. Always gets quotes and sayings mixed up.
  89. Carries a large coin which he or she is always rolling over his or her knuckles.
  90. Is a habitual sniffler even when he or she is healthy.
  91. Regularly looks up at the sky to check the position of the sun/moon and comments on it.
  92. Always knows the direction he or she is traveling in.
  93. Corrects people when they use colloquial speech.
  94. Is never seen without a baseball cap or stocking cap (except, of course, in bed or the shower)
  95. Whistles the Scarecrow/Tin Man/Cowardly Lion song at random time and refuses to stop.
  96. Ends declarative sentences with in interrogative inflection?
  97. Is a mush mouth.
  98. Is an incessant fidgeter and is always touching his or her face or head.
  99. Dots his or her i’s with a smiley face or heart (respectively or inversely for humor’s sake).
  100. Is unable to digest proteins correctly and gets very ill if too much protein rich food is consumed.
  101. Compulsively interrupts people telling stories to interject facts about the story that he or she only knows because they have been told the story before, not because they were involved with it.
  102. Makes up random lies about unimportant things for no reason.
  103. Has a weakness for rescuing stray animals.
  104. Gets physically angry when people mispronounce a certain word (e.g Illinois, precedent as president, especially as expecially).
  105. (cheat) Regularly mispronounces a certain word or uses redundant terms (e.g. PIN number, ATM machine, Hot water heater–if it’s hot, does it need to be heated?).
  106. When stressed or lying, speaks from the corner of his or her mouth.
  107. Profusely sweats even when at rest.
  108. Is unable to take advice from anyone because he or she thinks that they know it all.
  109. Uses mundane items as toys (e.g. bottle caps, straws, chopsticks).
  110. Cannot drink anything with ice in it.
  111. Is strongly susceptible to “brain freeze.”
  112. Doesn’t wash his or her hands after using the bathroom.
  113. When dining out, always tidies up the table and resets the condiments.
  114. Walks in the middle of any aisle, sidewalk, or other shared walkway causing people to have to move around him or her.
  115. Drags his or her feet.
  116. Only drinks from plastic or paper cups and cannot stand the feel of glass in his or her hand.
  117. Draws random doodles on any piece of paper in front of him or her and always carries a pen or pencil to facilitate this habit.
  118. Wears only new socks.
  119. Has several hidden body piercings or tattoos that regular clothing conceal.
  120. Always stands with his or her hands behind their back, sometimes in an “at ease” position, though he or she was never in the military.
  121. Excessively uses initials or acronyms for common AND uncommon phrases and doesn’t bother to explain them.
  122. Doesn’t eat green things.
  123. Strongly dislikes the sound of chewing and hums a quiet song while eating.
  124. Has the ability to speak in a cartoon-like voice which sounds little or nothing like his or her real voice.
  125. Is thrifty nearly to the point of obsessive or compulsive nature.
  126. Is always at least ten minutes early to any meeting or appointment.
  127. Can calculate the total of any items put in a shopping cart and tax to within $0.05.
  128. Generally submits to the ideas and suggestions of others without thinking of his or her own needs.
  129. Readily puts him or her self in the way of danger without careful consideration.
  130. Always has change in his or her pocket to give to beggars or homeless.
  131. Is always trying to recruit people to his or her religious/philosophical beliefs.
  132. Constantly quotes favorite movies and can usually identify the movie that a quote may come from.
  133. Overly honest person, always telling the truth even to his or her own detriment.
  134. Takes stupid bets/dares for small amounts of money.
  135. Has several parts of his or her body that are double jointed and bend or flex in an unnatural or uncanny manner.
  136. Writes with left hand, but does everything else right-handed.
  137. Can only see out of one eye or hear out of one ear.
  138. Is susceptible to malapropisms or spoonerisms.
  139. Routinely quotes books even when it’s irrelevant
  140. Believes he’s a hero from a prophecy or the reincarnate of another hero
  141. Doesn’t understand names. He refers to everyone as their title only and when someone introduces them selves (i.e. “Bob”), he assumes that is what they are. “Today, I met a bob.”
  142. Believes he’s color blind.
  143. Compulsive liar, especially in regards to insignificant things.
  144. Absolutely no sense of direction (can get lost in an inn)
  145. Personality changes after dark
  146. Makes elaborate plans and then discards them because he believes they’re too easy to see through
  147. Pyro
  148. Overly confident to a fault
  149. Afraid of 20-sided objects and counts the sides of oddly shaped objects like jems (believes they will bring about pain, misery, bad luck, misfortune, death, or even the end of the world)
  150. Compulsive gambler.

    Just me and one of my personality quirks. (Hint: Take a look at #173.)

    Just me and one of my personality quirks. (Hint: Take a look at #171.)

  151. Believes he’s a werewolf but just has a sleepwalking problem
  152. Thinks all jokes are serious statements / no sense of humor
  153. Can’t pose nicely for a photo. Always makes a face (this can be out of some fear of looking bad when trying to look good).
  154. Has a fear of public speaking.
  155. Is shy.
  156. Takes Lysol wipes everywhere they go.
  157. Can’t sleep in a hotel room without checking for bed bugs and spraying down the toilet, sink, counter tops, etc.
  158. Purposefully makes others think they’re not a good person so they don’t have to live up to standards.
  159. Doesn’t like friends because friends know secrets that they can use against you.
  160. Has trust issues.
  161. Blinks a lot.
  162. Doesn’t blink much.
  163. Has to work out or feels fat and ugly.
  164. Can listen to two conversations at once.
  165. Always eavesdrops on stranger’s conversations and gives their opinion.
  166. Always stores their files on a backup drive.
  167. Always has a pen and paper.
  168. Can’t stand a messy house.
  169. Isn’t sexually attracted to anyone and finds romance sickening.
  170. Feels like they have to speak up when they hear someone saying something incorrect.
  171. Always has to do something with their hands.

http://writeworld.tumblr.com/physicalquirks

http://www.fanpop.com/clubs/a-book-comes-to-life/articles/201094/title/characterization-50-random-character-quirk-ideas

http://anthonyowens.wordpress.com/2007/10/17/100-character-quirks-you-can-steal-from-me/

http://character-quirks.blogspot.com/

Hope those help. 🙂

Do you have any quirks to add to the list? Let me know in the comments! 😀

God bless!

Rana

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2 thoughts on “Character Development (Part 2)

  1. You and your lovely research. ;D It’s amazing how many of those can be recognized in JUST the Nealers, huh? XD And ‘ring’…. I love you! And that pic is adorable. XD
    And for the record, I attempted to convince my mother to let me watch Batman and she said ‘no’. I said Rana loves it and the answer was still ‘no’. But you are very good back-up. XD

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Character Development (Part 1) and What Can We Learn From Batman? | The Villain Authoress

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