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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