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Quirky Quirks Distinguish People from Each Other

3 Things I Notice When Stalking Observing People

In Search of Quirks for My Fictional Characters

Letter Q = Quirks

Quirkiest Character I know:

3 Things I leaned from reading Journaling to Become a Better Writer by Danielle Lincoln Hanna, a book I highly recommend for all authors. I simply can't give this book a stronger recommendation. I will post a review after the challenge because the insight I gained from her journaling and the homework exercises were rewarding and offered an unexpected breakthrough in my writing.

3 Things:

1. What we do
2. What we Say (and how we say it)
3. What we look like

So began my study of people by observing their:

1. Mannerisms 
2. Choices

Let's get down to the quirks I took note of this week. I'm only listing the top 25 to keep the post short.

1. Drives car while sitting with one leg either tucked under her butt or fully extended and resting on the dashboard.
2. Nervous habit of tapping her long fingernails against the iPhone case. 
3. Twirls toothpick between lip and tongue.
4. Always touches people when they speak: a palm over their hand, extends arms parallel to their shoulders, calls them sweetie pie, honey, darlin'.
5. Constantly licks lips to the point they are visibly chapped, flaky and peeling.
6. Flicks his wrists and does a thumb tap dance with the oval tin container of Skoal (smokeless tobacco also known as snuff) before pinching a greasy mound of a tea like pouch and tucking it between his lip and cheek.
7. Gets annoyed when things are out of place.
8. Won't go anywhere without an iced coffee or a diet coke with a straw. 
9. Talks with hand over mouth.
10. Is a close talker, invades your personal space.

11. Goes off on tangents, tells stories with no point or conclusion.
12. Never uses contractions.
13. Refers to self in third person.
14. Exaggerated accent.
15. Has difficulty answering questions directly or making eye contact. 
16. Claustrophobic. 
17. Must sit next to a wall or with back to the exit.
18. Puts others down constantly.
19. Walks as if afraid of being followed. Looks over shoulders. Slips behind doorways. Crosses the street often.
20. Has road rage. Flips drivers off, constantly blares horn and shouts profanity at other drivers for the slightest thing. Never lets other drivers slip over into her lane when the other driver politely asks.
21. Won't eat a Wendy's hamburger because of the square meat on a round bun. 
22. Must take a swallow or sip of beverage after each bite when eating a meal.
23. Experiences anxiety in social situations.
24. Habitually coughs/clears throat, even when healthy.
25. Always needs to one up the person speaking. When someone vacations, he's been on a better one. If they have an injury, his injury was far worse. If they are sick, when he was ill, his illness was life threatening.

How do you come up with your characters quirks, habits & mannerisms? What’s the strangest quirk you’ve ever heard of? Tell us about it. The quirk could be from someone in the real world or a fictional character’s quirk you discovered while reading a novel or watching a movie.

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1 comment:

Unknown said...


I just discovered this blog post you wrote nearly a year ago. I love the quirks you discovered! Really cracked up over the square hamburger on the round bun ... Glad you had fun with this exercise!

~ Danielle Lincoln Hanna

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