A Writer's List of Interesting Character Traits
Character Traits Should Be Interesting and Affect the Story
If you're a writer trying to come up with a new character, I don't need to tell you to give them an interesting backstory, but if you want to add to that uniqueness, then give them an interesting or quirky mannerism. If you are around anyone for any length of time, you quickly come to realize that all people have little idiosyncrasies, gestures, and traits that, in a lot of cases, make them who they are. This is an element of reality that writers should always try to incorporate into the process of character creation. The list of useful traits below should give writers a jumping off point to come up with something useful.
When to Reveal Character
What's the best way to reveal what kind of person your character is?
106+ Character Traits and Counting
A List of Interesting Character Traits That Writers Will Find Especially Useful
- Being addicted to Caramello candy bars is a strange quirk, for sure.
- Loves mopping floors (it's zen-like for them).
- Keeps Christmas lights up all year.
- Always taking notes.
- Has to have the most up-to-date technology.
- Fascination with fire.
- Flosses teeth in public.
- Watches people live streaming on the Internet instead of regular TV shows or movies.
- Huge fan of horror movies.
- Dips french fries into mayonnaise instead of ketchup.
- Sensitivity to bright light.
- Driven by revenge and anger.
- Doesn't like to wear shoes; would rather go barefoot.
- Low talking often leads to funny situations, especially during times of stress.
- Keeps an unlit cigar in their mouth most of the time.
- No ambition.
- Always takes more napkins than needed at fast-food restaurants.
- Practical joker.
- A woman who paints each fingernail a different color (toes, too).
- Someone with a dark sense of humor.
- Limited vocabulary.
- Wears an eye patch just to look cool.
- Chews on the necks of shirts.
- Someone who doesn't practice good hygiene.
- Curses a lot and in very graphic ways.
- Never tells the whole truth.
- Blames others for their failures.
- Smacks or swats instead of punching when in a fight.
- Wears hoodies all the time.
- Reluctant leaders either make really good leaders or really bad leaders.
- Cries or tears easily.
- Man with extremely long hair.
- Shy around women.
- Pants always tucked into boots.
- Someone who has lots of power, but doesn't want the responsibility of it.
- Never talks at AA meetings.
- Can't hold down a job.
- Stockpiles staple items like toilet paper, trash bags, and aluminum foil.
- Quick to anger (and to pummel).
- Likes to click their pen constantly.
- Owns a motorcycle instead of a car.
- Wears rims, but no prescription, which gives them the appearance of wearing glasses.
- Doesn't like their name being on any kind of list.
- Doesn't take anything seriously.
- Very easily attracts static electricity.
- Power hungry.
- Wears the same type of shirt all the time.
- Listens to Spanish songs, but doesn't understand the language.
- A hairdresser that likes to purposely pull their customers' hair.
How to Create a Great Character
A lot of what sets a person apart can sometimes feel like a burden, but it's not. It's often the thing that makes you great or interesting, and if you ever have the misfortune of losing it, you'll likely become a lot less interesting.
More Quirks, Habits, and Physical Features to Give Your Creation More... Character
- Has a weak handshake.
- Wears a rubber band around their wrist (to snap).
- Turned on by violence.
- Loves puzzles.
- Always hot.
- Always cold.
- Likes to make people feel uncomfortable.
- Quick to honk the horn and scream when driving.
- Likes to jump line.
- Fantasizes about being a professional thief.
- Likes attention.
- Numb to the world around them.
- Grew up dirt poor.
- Uses unnecessarily long words to impress and confuse people.
- Great sense of humor.
- No sense of humor.
- Missing a pinky toe on each foot.
- Hard to understand.
- Takes their time when eating.
- Is a big fan of sardine sandwiches.
- Doesn't eat leftover food.
- Likes to eat breakfast foods for dinner and vice-versa.
- Has a lot of cats.
- Pees while taking a shower.
- Artist who can draw everything well except faces.
- Chews gum all the time.
- Sweats easily and in abundance.
- Doesn't sweat.
- Very memorable and unique laugh (snorts, wheezes, etc.).
- Bad at lying.
- Always needs to get the last word in when arguing with someone.
- Repulsed by old clothes.
- Everything they own they got at yard sales or flea markets.
- Can't swim.
- Never fights back or sticks up for themselves.
- Always has a notebook and pen.
- Sniffs their nose all the time.
- Sweaty palms.
- Likes to watch people from afar using binoculars.
- Talks really fast.
- White trash and doesn't realize.
- White trash and doesn't care.
- Won't speak up.
- Always tired.
- Will not shake hands; likes to bow instead.
- Bad memory.
- No respect for authority.
- Drives 20 mph slower than the posted speed limit.
Words Used to Describe a Character
Ways to Make Your Character Different
- Look at something from different points of view. For example, looking at something from the point of view of a wealthy person instead of someone who is comfortable, but not wealthy will give you different opinions on a great many things.
- If you can answer the question of what really drives and motivates your creation (and stay true to that), you will rarely have to think about what your character would do in certain situations.
- Looking at something from different emotional states can also be an interesting way to come up with unique ideas for your characters.
Traits That Will Make Your Creation Stand Out and Be Remembered
- Puts water on cereal instead of milk.
- Talking to all kinds of animals, even insects; sometimes just to say "hello".
- Refuses to kill household pests.
- Easy to impress.
- Not so easy to impress.
- Ambidextrous (the ability to use either hand equally well).
- Out of shape.
- Not afraid to say "no".
- Types in all caps in chat rooms.
- A collector of small things; it doesn't matter what kinds of things, just that they're small. I actually know someone like this and has whole cabinets full of tiny things; they don't even showcase or show off their collection in any way.
- Bad dancer.
- Constantly flirts with everyone.
- Someone having to use the bathroom often can create so many funny moments in your story that it just has to be used.
- Does not forget... or forgive.
- An old woman who can kick your butt at the Street Fighter video games (and she does victory celebrations).
- Crossed eyes.
- Snorting when laughing especially hard (as a result they try not to laugh).
- Sings out loud.
- Really smart in one particular area of expertise.
- Very bad breath.
- Finds women with foreign accents irresistible.
- Has lots of debt.
- Likes frozen Reece's Cups.
- Extremely demanding of everyone in their lives, whether it be in the workplace or at home with friends and family.
- Talking all the time.
- Uses one finger to type on keyboard.
Another Batch of Quirky Traits To Make Your Characters More Unique
- An avid reader of comic books that considers them on the same level as well-known literary novels.
- Shaky hands.
© 2019 Don