Want to make your characters more memorable, but aren’t sure how? Here’s a list of eccentricities and quirks you can give them to make them a little more unique. (Credit for thinking of some of them goes to friends in the Young Writers Workshop.)
- Fondness for feeling and/or squeezing marshmallows. This is me. Don’t they have the most fascinating texture ever? You should try it next time you’re at a campfire party. Or it could be something else, like ketchup packets.
- Language. This has a lot of options: perhaps they tend to ramble on and on, or have pet words or phrases that they use all the time, like the Scooby-Doo gang’s “Jeepers!” or “Jinkies!” Maybe they’re incapable of not speaking sarcastically when under stress.
- Random knowledge of random things. Is their room decorated solely with merch from an obscure fandom? Do they know every Jeopardy! question that Ken Jennings was ever asked? (Insider secret: I initially drafted this post the day after the G.O.A.T. contest.)
- Habit of poking nearby pencils into holes in objects (e.g. the ones in bookshelves). (I know someone who kind of does that.)
- Inability to resist pushing buttons. I don’t just mean the big, red ones that say “do not push,” I mean any button, anywhere. They just really, really want to push them.
- Sometimes they speak about themselves, or someone else who’s standing right in front of them, in the third person. Maybe when they’re tired, or to be goofy, or for some unknown reason they just randomly do it.
- They really love facepalming. It has to do more with my writing style / pet words than with a specific character, but my characters tend to do that.
- On the opposite side, maybe they really dislike something you wouldn’t expect them to, like whistling.
There are a million other possible quirks that aren’t on here (although I’m loosely planning to compile a much longer list as I think of more), but hopefully this is enough to get you started. If you think of more, don’t be shy about posting them in the comments!