Faces, Quirks, and Personality
Only twenty basic faces or facial structures exist throughout the world. I read this somewhere and it caused me to look deeper at the characters about which I both read and write. Fortunately, many variations of these twenty faces exist.
One story I read described the heroine as a raven-haired beauty with emerald eyes. Usually we draw upon personal memories of people who resemble these descriptions. That one caused me to imagine a stately woman with black hair, green eyes and a milky complexion.
Sometime later, I read the same simple description in another story. Wow! This woman gets around.
In order to create characters that are not mirror images of all the rest, writers need to further define them, maybe give them some quirks.
What if a raven-haired beauty with green eyes had a birthmark on her cheek? Not a dark one, just noticeable enough to make her feel insecure from childhood on. That one mark would make her different in so many ways. Her insecurity might cause her to have a timid personality, something she needed to overcome in her adult years; something to overcome in the character arc of the story.
Suppose this dark-haired beauty was so high strung that she stuttered when excited, stuttered to the point of getting on people’s nerves. Her personality would certainly be different than that of a demure beauty with a birthmark.
If this woman was perfect in every way, and doted upon as a child and her beauty exemplified, she would have a different outlook, perhaps an overweening personality. She would have her own set of life’s obstacles to overcome.
A single quirk can define the personality of any character.
We writers must make our characters different from all the rest, no matter how common they begin. The ways we make them different affects their personalities; and what is a character without a distinct personality? Be diligent and give your characters plausible variances, but be careful to give them the types of quirks that will define their persona as needed to fit your plot.
Please visit Mary Deal’s website for more wonderful articles like this one: Write Any Genre.