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35 Weird Traits Your Characters May Have

Read ‘weird’ as ‘unique’–the type of trait that grabs a readers’ attention. I’m

character traits

Porcupine hair, piercing eyes--a memorable character even dead

constantly looking for these so the characters in my novels are memorable, and the reader is excited to have them return to the plot line.

Everything on the list below I got from real people. You will be amazed!

  • eats M&Ms or Skittles by color
  • can’t use a pen without a top
  • can’t clean his/her house unless it’s dark out
  • types with one finger
  • is a debater
  • is a man who manicures his nails
  • drops last three words of a sentence to a grumble
  • has an accent
  • whistles when s/he says an s
  • whistles out of tune or the same three lines over and over
  • wears wingtips
  • obsessed with Princess Di (or some other celebrity)
  • turns every statement into a question by raising his/her voice at the end of the sentence
  • very rosy cheeks–almost rosacea
  • has to have even numbers for stuff–like a grade or the volume on his/her iPod
  • can’t stand wood in his/her mouth–like chopsticks, popsicles, etc.
  • calls males ‘son’, i.e., ‘Good job, son!’
  • larger-than-normal personal space bubble
  • can’t sleep in a messy room
  • nibbles at his/her fingers when excited
  • can’t eat vanilla cake with chocolate icing
  • eats toothpaste
  • walks on his/her toes
  • always has to have the office/room door closed
  • breaks a sandwich up into little pieces before eating it
  • loves good grammar
  • can’t write with a blue pen
  • has a postcard collection
  • can’t go anywhere without a bottle of water
  • must eat lunch at exactly 11:30 (or noon, or whatever hour works for your novel). If sh/he is even a minute late, they have to wait an hour
  • smells the pages of a book, or people, or food before eating
  • sees everyone as a color–she’s pink
  • has a phobia to something weird–like cracks on the sidewalk
  • his/her leg shakes every time they sit
  • rolls eyes up and to the right as they pontificate (or lecture, or just talk)

Enough? Makes me want to be more tolerant.


80 thoughts on “35 Weird Traits Your Characters May Have

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  9. Fun list — it reminds me that all of us have our odd quirks. And if we use these in characters, they can help add depth to the story.


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  11. OMG! I’m on that list! Had to laugh. So are some of my characters. Thanks for the list, my goal is to add to it for future reference.


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  13. I love the different quirks! I knew someone who couldn’t stand the sound of metal from silverware hit plates. I think that these details make characters more human and easier to relate to. Great post!


    • They do. As writers, we want that one trait that will help readers identify a character. These do it beautifully. I like the ‘metal on silverware’, too. That brings images into my mind.


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  18. I have a couple of weird habits myself. I have a strange phobia of people tapping me on my back or shoulder, etc, and I have tendency to turn things off after all my friends. Sometimes they tease me for it and switch plugs back on again, and it’s infuriating, but I see some of the traits you listed in them. I’ve read a couple of your blogs and I can relate to them very well. 🙂


  19. Reblogged this on Oh My Blog! and commented:
    What makes people weird is often what makes them interesting. I don’t know if you’ve seen a TV show called “My Strange Addiction” but there you will find a treasure trove of strange habbits/addictions that people have. Everything from eating the foam from couch cushions to using bleach to consistently clean.
    Thanks for sharing your list.


    • Thanks for the reblog! You’re so right–about the confluence of ‘weird’ and ‘interesting’. Life would be pretty boring with unique people. I’ve never watched that show. How’d I miss it? Every writer should use that sort of program as research.


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  21. Sounds as if a lot of your characters have some manifestation of OCD. You’ve probably met my friends or me sometime!


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    • I think they are normal! Just not the Bell curve normal. People with ‘weird traits’ are the ones who will solve our unsolvable problems because they think way outside the box.


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