But think about yourself. When you were a teen, could you label yourself? What was it you did? What were you passionate about? What defined you? Made you...not vanilla?
Me: Band geek extraordinairre. I am band. Really (like you need convincing of that). It's what I did.
And I actually think it's more dangerous to NOT have something to label yourself with. What do you do if you're just...nothing?
And in writing, we don't want to read or write about someone who's boring.
Enter character quirks. Through all the reading and writing I've done, I've come to the conclusion that all characters that make it into print have at least one thing that is unique about them.
Be it a perfume maker (The Hollow), a teen restaurant owner (Tantalize), or a boy who breaks everything he touches (Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians), the characters have things that make them unique, gives them something they own, something that defines them.
I have a short list of things I've given to my characters (the list is short, mostly because I realized that my characters were pretty vanilla), and I'd love to know what you've done for yours.
- Track star
- One who listens to police scanners
- Someone who doesn't talk much
- Can wait forever, at least it feels like forever
- Fixes cars
- Installs stereo systems
- Ballet dancer
- A cutter
As I was typing this, I really struggled to give even one label to some my characters. I realized with a panic-heart that I haven't really done that good of a job making my characters unique and definable.
What say you? Do characters need something unique about them to set them apart from the crowd out there? What have you labeled your characters with?