How do you stand out from the crowd? Do you hiccup in the key of F#? Can you juggle with the toes? Do you roll your "r"s every time you say "ravioli"? No matter how insignificant it may seem, your talents and abilities set you apart from everyone else. You are unique -- unlike anyone else.
Your characters must be unique as well. Does your character like to speak with a Southern accent even though she lives in Italy? Will she eat eggs, but only at night? Does he have to count the steps every time he leaves the house? Your character's quirks don't have to be this dramatic, but they do need to be believable. Is there a reason behind the fear? What meaning does a quirk have for the character? How do they fell about their special talent?
Consider the question: how does this character's uniqueness help him or hinder him in getting what he wants or desires? How will her quirk play into the plot of your story? Don't just throw in a character trait for no reason. Think about it. A girl who has a fear of something must conquer that fear in order to grow in the story. A boy's special talent might just help him success in his quest at the end. Tie it into the story, even in a minor way.
Quirks will make your story more enjoyable for the reader, and in the end, you as a writer, will create characters who readers will not soon forget!
WRITING PROMPT: Think about your character. List all the personality traits, talents, pet peeves, and quirks on a piece of paper. If you read this list to someone else, would they immediately recognize your character or could it be anyone on the street? Think of ways you can make your character stand out in a crowd. Add them to the list.
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