Hey everyone, and welcome to novel with me. The series which takes you on a writing journey from start to finish.
Today we’re going to continue our talk on characters. If you would like more detailled information, you can watch the video here.
Now, your character isn’t just their values and goals and personality. There are other, subtle details that you can give your characters in order to make them more realistic, and relatable.
Habits and quirks.
The best way to differentiate between these is to remember that quirks are deliberate, and habits are automatic. Both can be extremely useful in realising a well rounded character.
Habits are things you do, but don’t really think about doing. Maybe your character rubs their arms, bites their lip, or twirls their hair. It’s these types of little movements which are largely unconscious that give away their feelings or emotions.
You can use these as a way to show how the characters are feeling, without them saying a word. This is especially good when your character is saying one thing, but feeling another. It adds a level to your storytelling, makes it more dynamic and interesting.
Quirks are things your character does purposefully. Your character might always wear the same hat, no matter the outfit. They might always carry a certain object or constantly play with other peoples hair or mis-pronounce or mis-use words on purpose. These are things that make them different from other characters.
Habits and quirks can help identify and define your characters quickly and easily.
What do your characters think of themselves? Are they proud, or ashamed? Do they feel like they’re not good enough, or that they’re the smartest or coolest person?
Knowing this can play into the characters dialogue, their actions and can help the readers understand their thought processes- why they do or say what they do. Or say.
Your characters self image can contradict their beliefs and traits. You can have low self esteem but still be a cheerful person. You can think you’re not good enough but still act confident.
Is your character happy, lonely, or depressed? These feelings can underlay every other feeling. We can act like we’re not being affected, or hide them but they will always be affecting how we think and how we act. These are especially important during any big moments- your characters could react in a number of different ways, depending on their feelings.
How they express themselves. People express their traits and emotions in different ways and it’s a great to make your character stand out. Anger can be shown through shouting and hitting, speaking calmly or by crying. These are things that can act as tells- moments and actions which show your readers what your character may be feeling, instead of outright telling them.
By establishing these behaviours and habits and tells, you can use them to add depth to your characters, and let the reader read between the lines. There is so much you can say with such simple gestures that can add to a character and really show the reader what they’re like, without saying much at all.
Good thoughts and happy writing