Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Quirks for Characters

My good friend and fellow author, Katharine Grubb, once offered a blog post about creating interesting characters. What stood out to me as I read it was her advice to give your main characters defining quirks. She also suggested your characters each have a hobby.

The better you know your characters, the easier it is to clearly see those quirks each uses in various situations. Hobbies they are likely to enjoy emerge as well.

A character in my latest novel restores vintage Schwinn bikes as his hobby.
A few days ago, my mother and I were talking about identifying quirks and hobbies of a few well-known television characters. It started over lunch. I made us hotdogs with all the trimmings. We rarely eat such heart clogging food anymore, so having a picnic of sorts on the deck with hotdogs was a treat for both of us.

We started talking about Matlock and his proclivity to inhale a hotdog at every turn. Do you remember his hobby? Music. You’ll often see him playing a guitar and singing. What else defines him? How about the gray suit?

Since that conversation I find myself watching television and reading books with a keen interest in the quirks and hobbies of characters. Hawkeye Pierce sniffs his food. Jethro Gibbs on NCIS has an addiction to coffee and spends his spare time building a boat in his basement.

One of my favorite quirks comes from an old movie called She’s All That. Laney Boggs is a teen geek being transformed into a popular girl by the coolest guy in high school. But Laney’s father is one of my favorite characters. Mr. Boggs loves to watch Jeopardy every evening. His quirk? He answers every question confidently…and wrong, making him both memorable and lovable.

What quirks and hobbies do your characters have? Do they indulge in chocolate or have an affinity for pie? Maybe your character collects vintage postcards or teapots. Does your character like to fish or whittle?

If you can’t answer this question, then maybe you need to spend a little time getting to know your characters better.

What are some of the favorite quirks or hobbies of television or movie characters? Respond below…this could be fun.


  1. well, Sheldon (Big Bang Theory) immediately comes to mind with too many quirks to mention, I'm thinking. It usually is apparent in each episode that he will only sit in "his spot" on the couch as it affords the best view, less draft, no glare, etc and demands that no one ever rest in his special place on the sofa. :)

    1. Exactly! In fact the entire cast as well as many of the plots found on Big Bang Theory are built on quirks! Good example, Nancy. Thanks for sharing.


Leave your comments here. I look forward to hearing from you.