Apr 19, 2012

Q is for: Quirky

In the movie When Harry Met Sally (dating myself here) we quickly discover Sally's habit of extremely detailed food ordering.

By the end of the movie, Harry is not only at peace with her annoying habit, he lists it as one of the things he loves about her.

Johnny Depp's Jack Sparrow is rife with quirks. He twitches, he sways, he mumbles riddles nobody can understand. He's unabashedly selfish and sneaky. Depp's portrayal of Willy Wonka is similar, with a whole other package of quirks/weirdnesses to keep us interested.

Charles Dickens grew to popularity on the backs of his quirky characters like Nurse Ratchet, Miss Havisham, Scrooge. Sheridan's Mrs. Malaprop misused words so frequently that doing so is now called a 'malapropism'. LM Montgomery gave Anne Shirley the deep desire to trade her red hair for black. Dobby the elf likes to wear tea cozies as hats.

If we create them right, our characters should have lots of quirks. These habits/behaviors make them unique, help us to identify with them, give us handles to keep them straight in our minds. I admit - I'm not a quirky person so remembering to add this into my character brew is something I struggle to do.

What are some quirks you've added to your characters?


S. L. Hennessy said...

Miss. Havisham is my all time favorite literary character. She's just so unusual. And I LOVE Sally. She was definitely quirky.

A. K. Fotinos-Hoyer said...

You have some great examples of quirky characters! In my latest WiP, one of my characters had a winking quirk and another believed magical powers were bound to awaken in her someday.

I have a post today on writing quirky characters too :)
Quintessential Quirks

Nicole said...

Hmm, I have to think. I know one of my characters tugs on her necklace when she's nervous...I'm sure there are others, too. :)

Jessica said...

I love what you're saying here and the way you were so concise with it.

Since seeing Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow, I've looked for similar (as in feel, not exactly what he does) things to introduce into my characters. Funny - I have Jack Sparrow in my post yesterday, as well.

A to Z Blogger & SF/Fantasy Writer @ Visions of Other Worlds

Krista McLaughlin said...

I have one character that is always running his hands over his eyes when he's upset or frustrated. Not sure if that is quirky or not.

Stephsco said...

I saw When Harry Met Sally far after it was released, but I LOVED it. I think there's a timelessness to it and their relationship. A classic romantic comedy I don't need to feel ashamed of liking.

Out of all of Johnny Depp's roles, I think Edward Scissorhands is probably tops in quirk. That's still a strange movie to look back on, although it is technically fantasy. His portrayal of Ed Wood is hilariously quirky, I highly recommend that if you haven't seen it (Sarah Jessica Parker is in it as well, and although she usually annoys me, she's wonderful in it).

My favorite Johnny movie of all (can you tell I'm a fan) is Cry Baby. It's another John Waters film (as is Ed Wood) and it's the most campy quirky take on 1950s teen life you'll find. And amazingly quotable.

Cynthia said...

In one of my WIPs, one of my characters bit down on her lip when she was stressed about something, though that could be more of a habit than a quirk.