Tracy Madison’s quirky guest blog!
by Sharon Ashwood on May 13th, 2010

Tracy Madison knows how to make paranormal romance light and fun! And to prove it, she’s having a Month of Mysticism (with great prizes) on her blog.

Meanwhile, Tracy has dropped by S&S to give away a signed copy of A BREATH OF MAGIC to a commenter, so tell us about your favorite quirky characters!

madison_breathofmagic

Quirky Characters and Why I Love Them

One of my favorite words in the entire world of words is “quirk.” I love how it looks, how it sounds, and I even love saying it. Quirk. Quirks. Quirky. Go ahead and say it out loud. Please? I’ll wait…

See? It’s a fun little word! Just saying it forces your mouth into a pucker, which is sort of quirky on its own. But as much as I love the phonetics of the word, that’s not the only reason why I adore the word “quirk.” I also love its meaning.

Quirk has a few different definitions, but the one I’m talking about today is:

“A peculiarity of action, behavior, or personality: mannerism.”

And right there is the reason why I am hooked. Every single one of us has at least one quirk. I totally believe this. Even if you can’t identify your own quirks, I bet those closest to you can. Some people’s quirks might be tiny, barely noticeable peculiarities, while others have more than their fair share of peculiarities. Heck, I know a few on both sides of the equation.

But these quirks are part of what makes us who we are. Some of them are funny, and we’re used to being teased about them. For example, I cannot sit in a public place with my back to the room. Okay, well, I can. I just don’t want to. It gives me the creepy-crawlies and I’ll do almost anything to avoid it. My friends and family give me a knowing look whenever I beeline it for the chair against the wall. If I have to sit with my back to the room, I will. I’ll just be uncomfortable until I can get up and leave.

And oh, am I teased about this. Everyone thinks it’s hilarious. Especially because I have no reason to be this way—it just is what it is. But if you think about it, that’s a true statement for most quirks. And that’s another reason why I love them. Quirks, peculiarities of action, can breathe life into the characters of any book I’m reading. They are an important aspect of what helps me connect to characters, so I care about them and their story.

These quirks don’t have to be huge or crazy, either. Often, the tiniest of mannerisms are the strongest in characterization, the most compelling, and deliver exactly the bit of insight I need to truly understand a character. They add dimension, texture, and create characters that jump off the page into real life.

Can you imagine Sookie Stackhouse being quite as interesting without her high quirk quotient?

Or what about Eve Dallas and her penchant for sweets and coffee, or even the fact she hates having her hair styled? Eve is a strong woman, an engrossing character, and infinitely interesting to read about, but I have to say, I like her even more because of her quirks.

Quirks can also make me dislike a character, feel disgust, or even cringe as soon as that character walks into a scene. But when that happens, it’s for a reason. In most cases, the author wants me to have those feelings, and that’s why they’ve given these particular characters unappealing quirks. They’ve still used certain peculiarities of action to add dimension, texture, and realism into their characters. So, whether I like, love, or loathe the end result—these characters feel real to me, and that’s exactly how I want to feel when I’m reading a book.

And this is why I love quirky characters.

When I’m creating the characters who will live in my stories, I definitely give a great deal of consideration to quirks. Sometimes, these quirks pop up when I least expect it, and I love that. Other times, though, I have to consciously decide what quirk is right for which character. In my Magic series (A Taste of Magic, A Stroke of Magic, and my newest release, A Breath of Magic), I use quirks mostly to add humor, but also to add emotion.

I want my readers to care about my characters, to laugh with them, to worry about whatever struggles they’re facing, and giving them quirks is one way I can accomplish this. As a writer, my hope is that my readers will become invested in my characters, so they’ll stick around from page one all the way to “the end,” and enjoy the journey in between.

What about you? Who are some of your favorite quirky characters? And if you feel like sharing…what are some of your quirks? Everyone who comments will be entered to win a signed copy of A Breath of Magic!

To learn more about my books and maybe even some of my quirks, visit me at www.tracymadison.com.

17 comments to “Tracy Madison’s quirky guest blog!”

  1. 1

    Welcome to Silk and Shadows, Tracy!

    Interesting quirk. Maybe you were a spy in a previous life? My quirk is that I’m a pack rat. I keep things forever. :-)


  2. 2

    Quirky characters are usually my favorites. Katie MacAlister has a ton of quirky heroines, but I think my favorite is Belle Jamison from Gena Showalter’s Playing with Fire. She babbles, is slightly flaky, and still manages to be a tough chica. : )


  3. 3

    My favourite quirky character has to be MaryJanice Davidson’s Queen Betsy. She really make me laugh!


  4. 4

    Thanks for posting here today, Tracy!

    Me? I got no quirks. It’s the rest of the world that’s off kilter, I’m sure of it.

    I do love quirky characters though. I also like quirks that are externally imposed. For example, from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Spike couldn’t eat humans because of the chip in his head. For some reason, I just like the idea that we’re forced to deal with our own weirdnesses because of something the world did to us.

    Not that I’m projecting much or anything :wink: :wink:


  5. 5

    LOL, Annette…perhaps! I tend to keep a bunch of stuff too. Mostly mementos from travels, things the kids bring home, and of course, books.

    Hi, Jackie! What a great mix of characteristics! Thank you for commenting. :)

    Hey, Zita…I LOVE MaryJanice Davidson’s Queen Betsy. She always makes me laugh.


  6. 6

    It’s always the quirky characters that steal the scene (and my heart)! I love Nix, from Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark series. She’s nucking futs. ;)


  7. 7

    LOL @ Julie I can’t see Mike Rowe without thinking about Nix. : ) I told the owner of the site I review for we need to interview him and ask how he felt being stalked by a fictional mad woman.


  8. 8

    @Jackie U: A+++ idea. :Dd


  9. 9

    Quirky characters are the best. I love Betsy in MaryJanice Davidson’s series, Jessica and the other vamps in Michelle Bardsley’s Broken Heart, OK books, and Glory St Claire by Gerry Bartlett.


  10. 10

    One of the best TV shows for quirkiness is Bones. It is a celebration of personality oddities–up to an including the homicidal Zach. I really enjoy it as long as I don’t confuse the show with the actual books.

    Thanks so much for being with us today!


  11. 11

    I’ve been told I have a “quirky” way of storing things. And must confess that’s true. Not by size, type or even color but by what I think fits together. In my cupboards I put books and dinner plates together for no other reason than that to me it feels right. I also store my socks in a drawer of my filing cabinet. On top of the photo’s and a complete picnic set. I don’t think it’s weird, I like it this way and it’s my house so why not.


  12. 12

    My biggest quirk is an obsession with books, I can’t get enough.
    Quirky characters in books - I liked Jaye Wells’ Gighul in The Red-Headed Stepchild - a demon that loved the Home Shopping network and bought crazy things with Sabina’s credit card.


  13. 13

    lol quirk is one of my fave words too


  14. 14

    I have a lot of quirks. My favorite: I can’t eat food (or cook food) while wearing a wrist watch. It makes me queasy just watching other people eat while wearing a watch. LOL!!! That sounds so crazy, but it’s true. My favorite quirky character is Sheldon from the tv show Big Bang Theory. I love him. He is so funny!!


  15. 15

    My quirk, oh, let’s see. I don’t like the color yellow, if that counts. I also sometimes tend to find typos in just about everything there is to find them in! And my favorite quirky character–Heather, from Meg Cabot’s “Size 12 is Not Fat”

    Thanks for a great article, Tracy. I look forward to reading your books! :grin:


  16. 16

    Sorry for the late (very late) replies, I’ve had a crazy weekend.

    Hi, Julie! LOL, I adore Nix.

    Oooh, you’ve given me some more books and quirky characters to check out, Donna–time to head to the bookstore!

    I’m a HUGE Bones fan, Sharon. I’m not caught up to current season yet, as I only started watching it recently, but I love the show. And thank you for having me!

    Hi, Kirsten! I don’t see anything wrong with dinner plates and books being in the same cupboard. :)

    Oh, Barbara, I am the same way with books. I have soooo many and I keep acquiring more, lol.

    Hey, Raelena! Quirk is an awesome word!

    Diana–that’s the great thing about quirks, they don’t have to make sense! And I think Sheldon is a riot. I watch that show just for him.

    Hey, Julianne! Thank you! I hope you enjoy the stories. (And I’m not a huge fan of yellow, either)


  17. 17

    Okay, guys, I’m out…thanks so much for having me here and for sharing your quirks and favorite quirky characters with me. It’s been a blast!


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