Writing

How to Make Memorable Characters Part Three: The Importance of Giving Quirks to Your Characters

Hello, everyone, I’m here with part three of my writing series. I got this post up two days early for you guys. Today’s post is titled The Importance of Giving Quirks to Your Character. If you want to read part 2 check it out here. Are you ready for your deep dive into the world of unknown characters. 

Are you sure?

Let’s go.

So, I feel like the title basically explains everything. Some people who craft their characters will give them a lot of what I call the basic personalities. They get the big details like is the character smart, funny, serious, and such. They may also give them things they like to do and/or are good at like drawing, filming, cooking, and a bunch of other ing words. These are important, but you can go much deeper.

Ugh, why is writing never simple?

I have no idea. 

Anyway, with people there is no such thing as ‘normal.’ Period. That’s it. We have what we think should be normal, but let’s face it there is something quirky/strange/weird/different about all of us. Some of have more quirks than others, but it’s there in just about everyone. First, let me define that quirky doesn’t always mean weird, it’s mostly something unique/different. Like if I was a character in a book. If an author did their job, then in the book it would point out that I like to write and draw (but not very good at it) and read. It would show my humorous side and point out my struggles. And you would have a developed character. But this series isn’t just about developing characters. It’s about making memorable characters.

Explain, ’cause, Maggie, this makes no sense.

Lot’s of people write characters that are real, but we don’t remember all of them. Only those who stick out in our heads, the characters who are memorable. Most of the time, that is a character who is unlike all the others.

How do you make them different?

You give them quirks!!! Now sometimes you can make them memorable by making them different from the majority of main characters, like Sage from The False Prince. Why he is so memorable is because there isn’t a lot of characters like him. But he also has quirks like being able to roll a coin over his knuckles. It’s a skill but it’s also what makes him unique. Going back to me, if I were a character, the author would need to show the little things because they are what sets me from being lumped into the ‘writer’ category or the ‘reader’ category or the ‘amateur drawer’ category. The author would note that I love lemonade or that I like to bring pens with me when I go places. Maybe the author would show my love for t-shirts (one for every occasion!) or that I prefer jeggings than leggings. These things draw a more unique and individual side to me.

Some characters with amazing quirks:

Kendall in Not Your Average Fairy Tale by Chantele Sedgwick is shown to have a large collection of colorful socks. (Bonus: Kendall often describes Ash [another character] to have an earthy smell. How different is that!)

Grace in All Fall Down by Ally Carter always carries a flashlight with her wherever she goes. And when Carter talks about what Grace is wearing most of the time she has a cardigan on. It wasn’t said she always wears it, but when you see it come up more than once, readers make conclusions.

Maddie in Not If I Save You First by Ally Carter always carries multiple knives with her. 

Margaretha in The Princess Spy by Melanie Dickerson always talks a lot.

Hilary in The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates Series by Caroline Carlson talks about how she always wears her hair in a braid, always has on piratey boots, and always carries a sword by her side (whenever she can get by with it, that is).

So, there’s a few examples. Another thing to know. When you’re showing your character’s quirks, you don’t always have to say it like [insert name] always wears a hoodie even in the summer. You can show this to your readers by always describing the character in a hoodie. Readers will pick up on it. Now, it’s okay to say it if you can’t figure out another way to show it in the beginning. And if your character has quirks, make sure we see them brought up often in the story. Don’t just be like she carries a flashlight and we see it once. Readers won’t always remember the character and his/her quirks. In All Fall Down and throughout the other two books, we see Grace always having her flashlight and using it when she needs to like when she goes in tunnels. It reoccurs. And that makes it more real.

 Also, don’t forget about Go Teen Writers’ new book coming December 3rd. I know I keep talking about it, but one of the reasons is because I’m SUPER excited for this book. They’re going to hit on all the things us writers need to know as we create our novels. The book is called Go Teen Writers: Write Your Novel and you can learn more here.

Also, Critique Corner will not be having a new story coming up this week (but that gives you more time to read a portion of the opening chapter of my WIP). However, this coming Sunday a new story is supposed to come up. And this Saturday (yes, I’m VERY aware what day that is), I’m going to be sharing my journey as a writer, talking a lot about rejections and offering encouragement. I hope you’ll tune in for that. And part two of blogger, Christine Smith’s Know the Novel series will be going up this upcoming week. (I’m thinking Tuesday.) If you missed part one be sure to check that out. It’s basically a post where I talk about my WIP. 

Man, what is it with me a long posts here lately.

So, in the comments tell me if you give quirks to your characters or have you never heard of this idea before.

Do you think writers should make their characters quirky?

What are some characters you read with quirks?

Did you like me using myself as an example?

And if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask.

Answer in the comments! I LOVE hearing from ALL of you!!!! And I’ll catch you guys next time on another post. As always, Keep Writing!!!

Issabelle Perry is a devout follower of Jesus Christ and an extroverted, slightly crazy, teenage published author of YA fantasy. On the rare occasion when she's not plotting and pursuing her next story idea, you can find her reading, blogging, graphic designing, searching the web for odd facts about the middle ages, hunting for Narnia in wardrobes, or envisioning herself wielding a magnificent sword (but due to her clumsiness, let’s hope that never happens). This self-proclaimed exclamation mark enthusiast and obsessed fan of LOTR and The False Prince (by Jennifer A. Nielsen), is a co-founder of the popular Teen Writers' Nook where she and her sisters are dedicated to motivating and supporting young authors. What she's probably doing right now is fangirling about her favorite books to random people, trying to figure out how to fit the five new books she bought on her overflowing bookshelf, or scanning the pantries for chocolate.

4 Comments

  • Jane

    Thank you again for doing these, they’er really helping:)
    Then I have one question, if you write something for your story but don’t like it, do you throw it out or keep and just start on a fresh page?

    • Maggie

      Thank you, Jane!!!! I’m super glad they’re helping! 🙂
      Well, it mostly depends. I have written stuff I didn’t like and found they were not important or useful to the story. If I chose to cut it, it wouldn’t alter the story line. But, on the other hand, if the scene is very important to the plot, then you should try to find a way to make it work. What I recommend is to take a step away from the scene/section, maybe continue on the story/write something new or just take a break from writing for a few days. Then, come back at it with fresh eyes. If you want to keep it, open another page/document and rewrite it. I find in rewriting stories I can edit things better than when rereading.

      I hope this helps! If not, then let me know and I’ll do some research and do a post on it. (Or if you want more, I can still do a post on it.)

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