Unusual Character Traits

Day 21:  #AtoZChallenge

The characters in our stories and novels are often very complex. We spend a lot of time getting to know them, asking questions, describing them and giving them a personality.

We want our readers to visualize our characters and recognize them every time they speak. But, what can we do, besides names, ages, or gender to make our characters memorable?

Give them unusual character traits or as John Yeoman from the Village Academy calls it, a signature. We all have our idiosyncrasies, so give your characters  a few; make them mimic real people. To get you started, here are a few suggestions.

30  Unusual character traits worth considering:

  1. Meaningful repetitions – for instance in my novel, one of the characters uses the term, “Dear” when speaking to others.
  2. Twirls hair when preoccupied or worried.
  3. Bites nails when nervious.
  4. Taps fingernails or pencils against a hard surface when nervous.
  5. Chain smokes.
  6. Always carries water, tea, or other beverage with them.
  7. A hugger or touchy-feely person or the reverse – can’t stand to be touched.
  8. Always chews gum – but only one flavor.
  9. Has a movie quote for every situation.
  10. A speech impediment – stutter, or lisp.
  11. A distinctive accent.
  12. Clumsy – in movements or socially.
  13. Intolerant and impatient.
  14. A peculiar dresser – loud colors or mismatched clothing.
  15. A jokester.
  16. Refuses to use slang – always correcting others.
  17. Superstitious – carries a rabbit’s foot or another talisman for luck.
  18. Whistles non-stop.
  19. Compulsively washes hands or straightens items on his desk.
  20. Colorblind.
  21. Carries a cigar and chews on it but never lights it.
  22. Draws squiggles in the border of every piece of paper or notepad in front of them.
  23. Photographic memory.
  24.  A facial tic.
  25. A crooked smile.
  26. Eyes that are a different color.
  27. Meticulous or expensive dresser.
  28. Calls every younger man “son.”
  29. Hates dirt.
  30. Only eats the “green” jelly beans or M & M’s.

Those listed above are a few among many unusual traits. People are a bit weir, sometimes. It’s our backgrounds, genetics, and life experiences that make us different. It’s also what gives us our uniqueness.Wheather your characters are lovable or detestable, make them real, unique and memorable.

Want to know More? Check out these recources:

Writers Helping Writers – Home to the The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression. 

What about your characters? Are they memorable? Do they have an unususal trait?

I’d love to hear your comments. Talk to me. Tell me your story and look for me on Facebook at SheilaMGood,  PinterestBloglovinTwitter@sheilamgood, and Contently.

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25 thoughts on “Unusual Character Traits

  1. Pingback: Unusual Character Traits | The Linden Chronicles: The Wolf's Moon/The River

    • You’re very welcome Marjorie. I’m glad you liked the list. There are so many others and if we simply do a bit of people watching, I’m sure the list would grow! Glad you stopped by. You’re aways welcome in the Cow Pasture.


  2. Ah, I’ve been away for a few days and as soon as I had some free time, I just had to rush right over to your blog. I felt drawn to your blog and now I feel like our minds have been conspiring. We’ve had a couple of blog post that have touched on the same issue, but they’ve never been on the exact same topic. I love your list of unusual character traits and The Emotional Thesaurus is a major staple in my writer’s resource library. Enjoyed the post. Sorry, I missed your last few, but I will go back and read them over the next day or two. I wouldn’t want to miss any of your tips or advice. You’ve shared the most useful information I’ve gathered throughout this entire challenge. I need to learn more about John Yeoman, I’ve heard some wonderful remarks about his writing classes. Thanks for reminding me of him.

    Melissa Sugar @
    Melissa Sugar Writes

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have the Emotion Thesaurus. It is indeed good. I agree with John Yeoman wholeheartedly. I think that making a character realistic is not difficult when we know ourselves. The unusual character traits and idiosyncrasies that we have in our own personalities are what make us unique and with a little bit of finesse we can pass one or two of those traits on to our characters. No one likes to read about a person that is perfect.

    Visiting from the A to Z Blog Challenge.

    Patricia @ EverythingMustChange

    Liked by 3 people

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