One of the biggest challenges in writing is making sure each character is an individual (no cardboard cutouts). That each heroine different from book to book. I give writers who have about a million books published and each features a different hero/heroine a hugh thumb ups.
Some writers use speech give a character a ‘crutch’ phrase. Personally, I like to develop a character ‘tick.’
Sometimes I do this through a secondary character and how the heroine or hero accepts it sets them apart. I loaned one of my secondary female character who was struggling with her weight one of my personal ones. An earring fetish. No matter how much I weigh my earrings always fit and look great. My hero had been a good friend ever since grade school and would buy her all kinds of earrings but when he bought her a pair of diamond studs as a reflection of how he saw her – my heroine was sunk.
Another secondary character was a health food nut and my heroine was a junk food junkie. So while most viewed my heroine was a harsh demanding woman, her friend new the truth. She knew the heroine would drive 45 minutes to buy her favorite multi-grain bar to cheer her up.
Another had a mild case of OCD and self control issue that came out in love for M&M’s. She loved M&M’s but struggled not to eat an entire bag so she would buy a bag (2.5 pound by the way) once a week and divide out it by colors. Monday’s were green, Tuesday were blue, etc.
We all have differences that set us apart so when creating a characters make sure you give them some too.
What have been some of your favorite character ‘ticks’?