Friday, April 19, 2013

Q is for Quirks

This month I'm participating in the A-Z Blogging Challenge. The theme I'm going with this year is writing humor. Follow along to learn more about the different ways to make your fiction, articles or blog posts humorous. 

Oh! I love writing characters with fun and unique quirks. 

So, what is a quirk? 

A quirk is anything that makes your character peculiar, or different from others like him or her. And it's a great way to work in more humor to your writing. 

Say you have an elementary school teacher who likes collecting apple paper weights. Ok. That's pretty normal. And bland.

What if instead, she's an elementary school teacher who likes collecting, and displaying in her room, antique tortue devices?  Um, now she's creepy AND quirky. 

Or maybe you have a football jock with chiseled features, large biceps and a love of cheerleaders. Yawn. 

How about instead you make him a football jock with chiseled features, large biceps and a love of granola nature girls? He's instantly more interesting! And this could put him in all sorts of funny situations. 

When you're trying to think of quirks for your character, try brainstorming a list of ones that could work. Think about your character's age, gender, occupation, religion, history, habits, pets, fears, obsessions and talents. 

Another fun thing about quirks is the opportunity for more conflict! Expoit your character's quirk. Make things hard for them or others around them! 

If you have a ten year old little girl who goes to her first day of 5th grade to find her teacher gleefully crushing an apple with a head squishing device, I think this could create a bit of tension for said little girl, right? 

Or if you have a football player who is not attracted to the cheerleaders and wants to hang out with the cute new granola girl handing out PETA flyers, he might get some trouble from the other guys on the team. Or the girl will get it from the cheerleaders. Yay! More conflict. 

And one last thing about quirks. They are a brilliant way to get your character's voice out, to really make it stand out and be noticed. 

If you'd like more info on creating character quirks, check these out...

A podcast from Writing Excuses about Character Quirks with Bree Despain
A list of 50 character quirks (This could be a great place to get some ideas, but then change them up and make them your own)

Do you have any quirky characters in your WIP? Who are some of your favorite quirky characters? Or favorite kind of quirks?


  1. Quirks can make a character seem more alive.

  2. I always have quirky characters, because I am too quirky for them not to be also. :-)

    Thanks for sharing the list and the podcast!
    Lyre @ <a href=">Lyre's Musings</a> #atozchallenge

  3. Hello, Erin! I love quirks; they make characters seem more real and can set them up for good quandaries! My favorite quirky character is most definitely Anne Shirley from the Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery. I wanted to BE Anne when I was a little girl; heck, I still do!!

    Happy A to Z-ing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines