About Me

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A writer by predilection, an aunt by blessing and a friend by choice, Shelley has spent many years journaling before sitting down to draft her first novel. She has a B.A. in English discourse and is currently working on her third romantic-suspense, the title of which will be announced soon pending publication. Shelley is a member of the Romance Writers of America as well as her RWA state chapter of the Maryland Romance Writers.
"I love story-telling. It's a way to live an experience through the eyes of a character." - Shelley N. Greene

Friday, April 20, 2012

Q is for QUIRK

A big aim for fiction writers is to create memorable characters.  You want your heroes and heroines to be funny, cute, handsome, accomplished, brave, loving…

            (Stay with me, we’re almost done) …strong, charming and kind.

            That’s a long list.  And, let’s be honest, I know a few of you were yawning halfway through.  That’s okay.  That’s what our Q is going to fix.  All those attributes are great, it's what makes a hero a good, likable character.  We just don't want them to be TOO good.  

            Admit it, too good is kind of…annoying.

            I mean, if your characters are flawless, then what do they have to change?  How can a reader relate to them?

              One easy and fun way to solve this dilemma is to give your character a quirk—a unique or weird tendency that makes them different.  Quirks can be habitual like gum-chewing, a coffee addiction or a pattern of speech like stuttering when nervous.  Your character can have a weakness for shopping, drive like a maniac or be an uncontrollable flirt.  Quirks help define a character and are a good way to let the conflict and humor naturally unfold. 
            And quirks can be more complex, too, like a medical condition, something that challenges your character, which in turn adds depth to your story.

            And that’s the power of a good quirk.  Let it flesh out your characters and thicken your plot.  

            Tomorrow—R is for RESEARCH. 

            Goodnight!  :0)


  1. Great post! Yep, heroes and heroines can't be perfect...and they have to be relate-able. And we're all weird in our own ways, so why shouldn't our characters be, too?

    1. Thanks, so true. *hehee* I'm conspiring to have a rouge golf cart in my MS now. Stop me. LOL!