Saturday, March 26, 2011
As a writer, I’d like to give you a helpful tool for writing better-than-flat characters: Give them a quirk.
It doesn’t have to be a big quirk. I realize Adrian Monk, one of the best characters in television, is one giant quirk.
But so was the cast of Friends. And they were, for the first few seasons, reasonably grounded characters. But, they all had quirks.
I’m a huge fan of author Terry Pratchett. I’m finishing up (for the umpteenth time) one of his books Reaper Man. Death (7 foot tall skeleton, carries a scythe) is full of quirks. He doesn’t want to die, for one. And this book is about discovering life through the other door. The Exit, if you will.
I love that. I love that Death has no real concept on how to talk to people, or how to handle someone with no attention span, or that he is fond of cats. Its just a bizarre thing that makes the character endearing.
I say all that to say, gentle reader, I have a thing about open doors. I want them closed. I don’t know why. It’s a very strange quirk, and something I have never figured out about myself. But, last night, I couldn’t sleep until I shut my closet door.
Was I afraid that Mike Wazowski was going to come out and give me a stand-up routine? No. I know, contrary to what Doctor Who tries to tell me, there are no monsters in my closet.
I just can’t stand an open door. I’m weird. It’s a personality quirk.
So, if you are looking for a personality quirk to give to your characters, feel free to take that one. I have no interest in using it anytime soon, and I think its enough of a shared experience that anyone could relate.
Also if you’re wondering, I have a phobia against statues. But that’s entirely justified. They do in fact move when you’re not looking.