Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Character Foibles

I am a character. For those that know me in real time and on the net, this should come as no surprise. My personality is full of foibles, oddities, and all around kookiness such that most people find me endearing bordering on annoying. These quirks are what make me who I am. They define...no, perhaps that is too strong of a word. They spice my persona (yes, much better) such that I become memorable, one way or another, to the people I meet. Truly, I should be written into someone's novel.

Funny I should mention that, really. No, I have not become the main (or even secondary) character in some forthcoming literary work. Well, to the best of my knowledge anyway. Still, this does make for a great transition into my topic for this go round. The best characters in fiction, no matter what brand you choose, are those that have quirks to their personalities. A character without a foible, twitch or other assorted oddities becomes flat and dull. Now, I'm not saying that you have to make your main character a jumble of quirkiness, but there should be something to set him/her/it apart. I draw now from my end of the pool, as that is what I am most familiar with, but I believe you will get the point.

On the one end of the spectrum, you have Gollum. Poor little bugger has more quirks than one can count. From his speech (My preciousssss) to his very appearance, Gollum is a walking oddity. Yet, for all that, you remember him. Even people who do not read fantasy or care much about it know who Gollum is (even Blogger capitalizes his name automatically). On the other end of that spectrum, you have Arthur Dent. Now Arthur is just your plain ordinary Englishman whose house is about to be demolished. There really is nothing exceptional to his character at first look other than the fact that he is prone to say, "What?!" and "We're going to die!" at regular intervals. The truly clever quirk about Arthur is that, as the only "ordinary" character in the novels, he becomes a foil for every other character he meets. Simply by being ordinary, Arthur becomes the oddest person around.

I would say this to you, dear readers. Look around you. The people that you interact with everyday, whether it be on the interwebs or in real time, all have some twitch about them. Something that you would recognize as being a part of that person no matter what the context, even if it is only that they profoundly ordinary. Look at yourself, for that matter. See these things and find bits that will work to season your characters. I will caution you this however, that too much oddity will push your character from endearing to annoying.

Not that I know anything about that.

Arthur: So this is it. We're going to die
Ford: Yes. Would you like a hug?
Arthur: No.

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