Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Quirky Is the New Real
Every single one of us has quirks. Things we do that are unique to us, our families, our peer groups, etc. These little idiosyncrasies are what make us unique. They are ingrained in our behavior.
In my family, falling up stairs is much more common than falling down. What makes this interesting is that this is my married in family, but we all share this genetic predisposition to fall up. My niece & I are the most frequent offenders. Ascribing this attribute to a character could be fun - the klutz as detective. Ya know, tripping over bodies, accidentally uncovering evidence when he/she bends back a toenail.
With my parents, the quirk is how not to talk about things. This of course leads to a lack of family reunions & get-togethers. Who wants to hang out with people you can't really talk to anyway?? Ah, but the unspoken is sometimes much more interesting than the oral. With this quirk, white space is your friend; the sentiment is left on the fringe of the paper which amps the trauma & drama.
I have a friend who, when she's done listening to you, paints her lips with the ends of her hair while she stares into space. Another, twirls her hair when she doesn't want to discuss something. For women, hair is one more weapon in the beauty arsenal; a hair cut, a style. When used as a barrier it becomes an interesting device of protection, avoidance &/or misdirection. This quirk adds depth to a witness, a best friend who doesn't lie well, or an MC playing the innocent victim.
I have yet another friend whom I love dearly. She has had a host of surgeries over the last ten years; knees, back, neck. We can rebuild her. But, we can't make her go on a diet. My friend is chronically overweight & yet she insists that she needs to drink at least one Dr. Pepper a day to keep her blood sugar up. So, an overweight, hypoglycemic with a soda addiction. That is a contrast made for writing. And, the quirkiness of it, adds a level of reality that readers will recognize.
Quirky, quirky - we're all identifiable. Don't need fingerprints, DNA, or any other scientific identification. It's the little things that observation & character development are made of.