Am I out frolicking in the cool, cloudy morning? Of course not. I’m sitting inside, second cup of coffee steaming next to me, and tap-tap-tapping away at the keys on my laptop as my brilliance pours forth like a waterfall down the side of a mountain – that’s a simile, just in case you’re wondering. For more on similes, allegories, and metaphors, check out the this post at The Literary Lab by the other Scott.
The brilliance that I just couldn't find Friday morning, has suddenly resurfaced. It could be due to lack of sleep, the fact that Jesse (one of the Cocker Spaniels) has been whining since about 5 this morning, or just that, sometimes, brilliance happens when it happens, and not on command.
I've been thinking a lot about characters lately. More to the point, about the details of characters. Stephanie Plum (Janet Evanovich's too dang funny bounty hunter) eats peanut butter and olive sandwiches. Eeeeewwww! Bilbo Baggins (if you have no clue, I'm sorry, there's no help whatsoever for you) loves to blow smoke rings and he was discombobulated to find out he left the house without a clean handkerchief on the day his adventure truly began. These are small, itty, bitty, almost minuscule details about the characters that endear the characters to me.
What traits (quirks, perhaps) do your characters have that will endear them to your readers? Do your characters have these little quirks? If not, why?
Here's another, major question: what do you know about your characters?
Here's some info about one of my main characters:
- Blonde hair, brown eyes, wears size 32 jeans
- Absolutely loves, loves, loves banana pudding
- He drinks Crown and Coke with a twist of lime when he not drinking margaritas.
- He loves reading mysteries - Carol Goodman is one of his favorite authors.
- He has a cat.
- He has two sisters and his parents are divorced.
- Casper the Ghost has more of a tan than he does.
- He loves to cook.
- He loves the colors blue, green, and pink, and normally buys shirts in various shades of each of these colors.
- He has an irritating habit of biting his lower lip when he's thinking.
The list goes on and on and on. Are these little details vitally important? Well, to me, yes. I want to know the little details about the characters I'm reading. I want to know their quirks, their favorite drinks, books, movies, and the fact that they absolutely love, love, love banana pudding or peanut butter and olive (eeewww) sandwiches.
Why am I writing about this on - just in case you're wondering - a still dreary Sunday morning in May? Because sometimes these little things are missing in the books I read. The characters are well developed, don't get me wrong, and I attach myself to the characters, but sometimes - the little things - there's something missing.
My advice: add in some quirks, some little things, that, years after people have read your book, they'll remember about your characters.
Well, that's it for today. My next post, sometime this week, is also going to concern little details, but in a broader perspective than just the characters. Stay Tuned!