We are all unique individuals with our own unique quirks. Just yesterday, while watching a drama with friends, I noticed one absently biting her nail. She does that when she’s involved in an intense situation. I have to say, the climax of the movie was an emotional drain.
Quirks, those little things we think no one notices, pop up everyday and in every situation. We don’t like to admit to them, but we all have them, its part of human nature. So why do we write minor characters without them?
Charles Dickens did this very well. He gave characters quirks that moved them from two dimensional forgettable players, into the realm of literary legend. He gave characters, strange speech patterns and unusual behaviors, that made them real to us. Those unique quirks became heartwarming traits to some of his most famous minor characters.
To relate a character with a quirk can be a charming and fun way to introduce a simple extra cast into your book besides just saying ‘a clerk at a desk.’
Why add an extra, to be forgotten character, when you can do so much more? Why not bring your book to life, by asking questions that can grow a minor character into someone other than just a simple vessel that answers your protagonist questions. Make them come alive!
Say your character is a clerk in an office:
1) What’s on their desk, their computer’s wallpaper?
2) How are they dressed?
3) Do they remind you of someone….family, a neighbor,… etc?
4) How does he/she act around his peers,.. shy, timid, overbearing?
5) Do they have a tick, or some strange habit?
These are just a few examples, but starting with a question can produce a world of difference in your story.
We are all minor characters in the grand story. How will the world remember us, hopefully as full-fledged individuals with aspirations and dreams. Why not give those to your minor characters (not all of them) by making them as human as you or I.
Why not give your characters a quirk to remember?
© Glynis Rankin 2014