Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Best of Seekerville from the Archives and Giveaway

Characters Welcome by Mary Connealy

Today I’m going to talk about developing three dimensional characters.

I’m going to point out three distinct things I need to do to make my characters come to life.

I give them a backstory (which should NEVER BE EXPLAINED IN ONE SCENE)

I give them a goal (which is the heart of the story I plan to tell)

I give them a quirk.

I’ll use my heroine in Cowboy Christmas as an example.

About a year ago I listened to Angela Hunt say she wanted to get married very young. Her parents told her no. I remember Angela saying, “They were my spiritual leaders so I did as they asked.” And I thought, “But what if (when you're a writer it’s always ‘what if’ isn’t it?) What if your spiritual leaders weren’t trustworthy? At what point would you have to defy those leaders?

This was my starting point. I made Annette a ‘good girl’. She’s been working with a traveling mission group, singing. New leaders take over the mission group. These leaders act like Christians at first, but they press Annette to act more and more against her faith. Nothing big at first. Wear brighter colors. Sing patriotic songs, not strictly Christian songs. Inch by inch they ask her to step farther from her belief system. And then comes the day when they ask too much. They finally ask something of her she cannot do. And they’ve set the stage so there is no safety for her. To defy them will put her in terrible danger.

That’s where the book begins. I don’t give you any of that backstory in my book at the outset. Instead, my book begins with a defiant, terrified Annette being knocked down by the villain.

Why she’s being beaten isn’t important in that first scene. Annette’s fighting for her life. WHY just doesn’t matter. And enough of the WHY is revealed by a description of the shameful dress Claude Leveque wants her to wear to that night’s performance and Annette shouting, “No, I’ll die first.”

Actually I just re-read this scene. It came out pretty good if I do say so myself. I got a little weepy.

So Annette gets away but trouble is pursuing her. Her goal, to get to her father for safety. Her worthless rejecting father who sent her away from home to school back east after Annette’s mother died (I'm weaving in backstory-by the end of Chapter three the reader knows the bare bones of this). And along the way Annette meets Elijah Walker. The cranky man who doesn’t trust woman.

I could write what all brought Elijah’s crankiness on but I’ll let you find out yourself.

Annette has her backstory.

Now she needs a goal.

Her goal is to live bravely for God and bear the crosses God gives her. She’s not real good at it. She keeps fumbling the crosses, usually dropping them on poor Elijah’s head. But she keeps trying and Elijah keeps rescuing her and Claude keeps coming.

There’s our story.

Except to me the thing that brings a character to life fully is quirks. Annette's quirk is that she sings when she’s emotional. When she’s happy, sad, scared, excited; her reaction is to sing. A second quirk is that she's practicing being brave with poor Elijah. Snipping at him makes her feel courageous.

That's it, that's my character for Annette Talbot in Cowboy Christmas:
Annette’s got

Her backstory that makes her who she is. The good girl who always thought if she’d just been better her father would have kept her with him. So she keeps trying desperately to be good.

Her goal, to learn to live courageously for God, even at the cost of her own life, which amounts to defiance, something she sees as the opposite of being good.

Her quirks, that singing, that sass.

Now I want you to think of a character in your book and tell me those three things.

Backstory, goal, quirks.

And do it in once sentence-each. I don't want a chapter long backstory dump showing up in the comment section. BOIL IT DOWN.

This post appeared on Seekerville September 1, 2009.

Since then Cowboy Christmas has won the 2010 Carol Award
in the Long Historical Romance category

Today, as part of our 3rd Seekerville Birthday Party, we are giving away 3 prizes: a ten page Seeker critique, an Unpubbed Island Necklace and a copy of Mary Connealy's Wrangler in Petticoats.

Just let us know you want your name in the drawing and what you'd like to win. Winners announced in tomorrow's Weekend Edition.


  1. I loved Cowboy Christmas and can't wait for the sequel! Please don't enter me I already won once! :-)


  2. April, an aging yellow lab mix, had to fend for herself, living off whatever she could find to eat and wherever she could scrounge a spot to stay. She wants to maintain her position in the family she lives with now, and protect them. She uses no contractions when "speaking" and her manner is militaristic.

    Again with the generosity!! may at maythek9spy dot com I'd very much appreciate a critique. :)

    Have a great weekend everyone! Coffee's on! It's more revising tonite!

  3. Oh, I would love to be entered. I'll be on the hunt for every MC book I can find. Your books sound fun and a friend of mine says they're definite keepers!

    I didn't know if we were to add our backstory, goal and quirk but thought it would be excellent practice.

    Darby was traded by her parents to a saloon owner for a pickaxe and a shovel. Her goal is to rescue orphaned girls in danger of the same fate. She misquotes scripture and is a little to fast with her gun. ;)

    reneelynnscott [at] gmail [dot] com

  4. So, Renee, they got a pick axe AND a shovel, cuz that's a petty good trade.
    I've had teenage girls.

    And KC, your heoine is a dog. A militaristic dog?

    Well, no one can say you'e not creative.


    I'm lonely and tired and far from home. I've got to go to bed.

    I'll put out the breakfast buffet. I've got half a cheese pizza in the refigerator. The crust is soggy and there might be some flecks of mold on it, but if you're hungry enough you'll eat it.

    And there's a two liter bottle of diet coke, it's about half gone, and maybe it's flat, but it's still sweet.

    And a tin of mints.

    And some strange off brand of instant coffee in the motel room. I already drank the decaf but you can have the regular. The water's lukewarm and barely brown, but it's fine.

    Bon appetit

  5. Ruthy told me I couldn't feed you anymore, but she's just being stubborn!

  6. I too loved Cowboy Christmas and bought extra to give away. I have put a notice in the church newsletter to see if anyone wants to join a bookclub as we have several copies of this book now in the church and among members I was going suggest this as our first book to discuss.
    I dont need a critique or a necklace but would really love to win Wranglers in Petticoats. as I dont write cant answer the question.

  7. Hi, Mary! Another non-writer reader fan here! I love your books, and have them all on my keeper shelf! Thanks for sharing today!

  8. I have Cowboy Christmas up for this year if I can find where I put my copy :-( I had it for last year but didn't have time to sit and relax with it so put it aside for this year.

    ok I have breakfast tacos(egg, bacon, potato are highly recommended but also have cheese, chorizo, ham, sausage(the regular kind LOL!), beans, peppers..whatever you can think of on homemade tortillas(though not homemade by me!) and mild(red) salsa, hot(green) salsa, and super duper burn your tongue off habanero(orange) salsa! also some migas, huevos rancheros, and mexican eggs(scrambled eggs with this delicious creamy salsa on them a la taco cabana style)and refried beans and bacon on the side.

    @KC why is the poor doggy having to scrounge for food if she's with a family? Can't stand to see a doggy mistreated darn it!

    @Renee - that sounds like an interesting book LOL!

    I don't have a book so can't do a one sentence thingy :-(

    I'd like to be entered for the book pls!

  9. I don't know if it's appropriate to enter to win the book since I already won once this month at Seekerville, but I sure would love to read Wranglers in Petticoats.

  10. Mary, sorry you are far from home. I just bought Wrangler and hope others will as well so you can stay someplace better than the Budget Motel next time. Of course, that's no guarantee as we stayed at a resort where they tried to convince us the mouse in the room was actually a chameleon. Uh, no.

    Naomi, abandoned by her father and her mother's family, has sought a place to belong her whole life but she has been looking in all the wrong places. Her goal is to live a life based on God's plan for her and become a part of a faith community. She THINKS she can sing and that Christian fashion means striped knee socks, heavy clogs, and clothing ten sizes too big.

    Thanks, Anon for all the protein!

    No need to enter me in anything but the Kindle drawing today!

    Peace, Julie

  11. Mary's grief over the loss of her brother on her operating table and her family's susbequent rejection cause her to bury herself in the jungle. She wants to atone for her fatal mistake by treating indigineous women and children in the jungle of 1918 Africa. Her inability to corral her innate rebellion at being given orders gets her into repeated trouble.
    Would love to win a critique from one of the fabulous ladies here! dlkaufmanATbellsouthDOTnet

  12. This is still a great post, Mary. Sometimes I forget about adding a quirk.

    And I loved Cowboy Christmas!

  13. I need to think further on the quirks. My character has a few. She writes poetry in a cult that discourages creativity. This makes me think I would like to add a funny quirk, though.

    I would love that critique.


  14. Morning Mary, Loved COWBOY CHRISTMAS.

    KC the militaristic dog is too funny.

    Renee-I agree with Mary. A pick-and shovel. wow.

    And Susanna thank the Lord you showed up because the moldy pizza was doing me in. And the motel coffee.

    Fun reading all of your one liners. Have fun today.

  15. After a bad night's sleep, I'll jump in here and tell you the quirk needs to be something that's FUNDAMENTAL to the character.

    Annette sings
    Beth McClellen from Doctor in Petticoats takes people's pulse.
    Sally McClellen from Wrangler in Petticoats touches a little ribbon she keeps hidden under her mannish clothes. Mandy McClellen from Sharpshooter in Petticoats, coming in January, rubs a little callus that's grown on her trigger figer.

  16. good morning...loved reading mary's posting...please enter me for mary's masterpiece 'wrangler in petticoats.' thanks :)

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

  17. Oh boy!
    I love reading this post again.
    Thanks, Mare.
    I'm going to give this goal/backstoyr/quirk thing a try, but I don't know that I"m very good and writing quirks.

    After her alcholic mother's illness caused her father's death, Adelina Roseland is determined to get out of Appalachia forever - the only problem is her unlikely wager with widowed cattle farmer, Reese Mitchell, and the pull of his faith.

    Quirk? Is the fact that she's petrified of elevators a quirk? I mean, in hte last scene she has a broken leg and Reece is on the 25th floor of a building - she NEEDS to get to him. But the entire story, she's been going up flights and flights of stairs because of her fear. Does that count?

  18. Okay, here's my stab at backstory, goal, and quirk for my WIP. Twenty-something Chloe Cresswell is convinced no man will ever want her because of rejection she faced when she told her secret (she can't have kids) to her ex-fiance--who is now the mayor of the town and running around with a happy little family and . . . you get the idea!

    Her goal, to show the new police chief (handsome and single, of course) how to catch the killer stalking her adopted younger sister, while not getting too close to the man.

    Her quirk, she's a baker who hates sweets and must rely on everyone else taste-testing her recipes.

    I'd love to be entered for Mary's book (and, of course, the kindle--because it will be filled with Seeker books that I probably haven't read yet!)

    reneeasmith61 [at] yahoo [dot] com

  19. Thank you Susanna for saving us from Mary's fare.

    Coffee is ON!!

    Let the day begin

  20. Cowboy Christmas was one of my favorite books of yours! Your characters always have the best quirks--quirks that endear them to the readers! And as a new writer, what you said about backstory is so good. You really don't have to lay it all out. Starting out with the Annette being knocked down by the villain is brilliant! It certainly hooked me in!

    I'd love a chance to win any of the prizes. ;)

  21. Great post on charatization, I love how you said: she has backstory, now she needs a goal. Great thought there! Thanks for reposting this. I haven't been following Seekerville long enough to recognize these old posts and it's great.


    Umm, can I be entered for the critique?

  22. A great archived post! I loved Cowboy Christmas. Of course it had two of my favorite things...Cowboys and Christmas. :o)

    A cheating fiancée and years of bringing women suspects to justice leaves Jace distrustful of women.
    He travels to Alaska to keep the promise he made to his slain partner and bring the murderer of his partner’s brother to justice while finding God's purpose for his life. Jace's quirk is that he cracks his knuckles when concentrating, bored, worried, pretty much all the time.

    I'd like to be entered in the drawing for the critique.


  23. Good morning, Seekers & friends,

    Love this post, Mary. Why are you so far from home in a flea-bitten motel? Think Penthouse suite with cabana boys at your beck and call with freshly brewed coffee and real cream! Gotta aim high, girl!

    Let's see, here's my wip:

    After a disastrous affair with a married man, which results in her being fired from her job as a chef, Chloe (another Chloe!) comes home, determined to atone for her lapse in judgment. Her goal is to open a pastry shop in town and be independent so no man can control her destiny ever again! Her quirk is that she is a Klutz, always crashing into things, except in the kitchen where she's the picture of grace!

    I imagine you do the same thing with the hero as well! Do you give them opposing quirks as well as goals?

    I'd love to win a critique. I've recently won a book, so I'll keep out of that draw!

    Have a great weekend, everyone.

    sbmason at sympatico dot ca

  24. Please enter me for the book...have not read any of Mary's books and am so anxious to do that!

  25. Loves 2 Read Romance - LauraOctober 23, 2010 at 9:57 AM

    Thank you Mary for sharing with us. I only skimmed the article because I like the sound of the book and didn't want to know to much about it before I get a chance to find it online and get myself a copy. I am not a writer yet so please don't give me a critique if my name is pulled I want it to go to someone who can use it.

    fantum2004 AT sbcglobal DOT net

  26. Renee,
    Love your heroine's quirk! LOL

  27. Mary,

    I hope you have a great signing today to make up for being away from home and lonely.

    Like, Cara, I forgot about the quirks. I need to brainstorm on that for my current WIP.

    Any prize is okay with me.

    RRossZediker at yahoo dot com

  28. The Unpubbed Island Necklace sounds great. Thanks for the info Mary. Your books are so good. I'm not a writer, just a reader. But boy can I read! haha Thanks to Seekerville for giving a Kindle away. I know I would enjoy that also.

  29. got some donuts for 2nd breakfast..any kind you want!

  30. What???? Anonymous Jackie hasn't read any of Mary's books???? Oh, let me give up my comment so she has another chance to win! Everybody needs to read one of Mary's books!

  31. Thanks for the explanation, Mary. Simply put, your explanation makes a lot of sense. And now, you've made me want to read Cowboy Christmas. (I loved Doctor in Petticoats by the way.)

    I think I'll print this out for future reference.

  32. That is one thing I'm still working on, quirks.

    I don't really think about them sometimes.

    So thanks for rewind remind.

    Mary, do you think about quirks off the bat or add them later?

    Tina Pinson

  33. Since I am just a reader friend, I would not need the critique if I would win.
    I just love being on this blog to read your techniques which only helps me truly appreciate those "good reads" all of you create!
    God bless one and all:)
    charsaltz at yahoo dot com

  34. I would LOVVEE to win this. LOVE to :)

  35. Great advice on characters. Please enter me for a chance at the critique :)

  36. I really enjoyed Wildflower Bride and would love the opportunity to read another of Mary's books, so please enter me for the book drawing.


  37. I'm open to win whatever! :)

    Love Mary's quirky characters!

    Jodie Wolfe

  38. Backstory - heroine lost several family members over a short period of time and now is questioning God. She is single & has custody of her orphaned niece who has leukemia & is waiting for a bone marrow transplant.

    Goal - to take care of her very ill niece and help find a donor. She is having a hard time trusting God. Her journey to her goal is learning to trust in God again as well as in man.

    Quirk - when she is nervous she hums and tends to twist her curly tendrils around her index finger.

    Would love to win a copy of Mary's book.

    Cindy W.


  39. Sherrinda you are sooooooooooo sweet. Giving up your comments for a poor soul who is starving for Connealy!!!

  40. Oh my stars, saints be praised, Irish and otherwise, for saving us from Mary's meager offerings.

    Who said the heartland drips with hospitality????

    Oh, that's right.

    NO ONE.

    Geez, Louise, the flat pop and horrible flea-bitten coffee did me in, but thank heavens Susanna has your back.

    I love Mary's books. Just love 'em. And her characters.


    Oh, yum.

    Belle? (think: Ruthy with a gun and a long skirt)

    Love her.



    Red? I'd marry him in a heartbeat. So solid, staid and true... Wonderful.

    And they only get better the second time around.

    I think I hate her. Mary, that is. She makes it look effortless. Brat.

    And has anyone else noticed that some VERY QUIRKY people are forgetting about quirks here...

    Umm, HELLO??????

    Doncha folks own mirrors?????

    Sorry, kidding. Mostly. Kind of.

    Quirks can be physical or mental/emotional. Both are good. Most people have both.

    Watch a crowd in an airport or hospital. (hospital waiting rooms are great for this, high emotion, life, death, trauma, everything in between. Watch covertly, don't try to like interview someone who's got a family member at death's door. Unless they look approachable. Take Kleenex. At least APPEAR to be helpful. Don't be rude. It's, well... rude.)

    Notice the hands. The feet. A necklace, twirled. A cross, played with. A pocket. Hair twiddles. Holding a cup of coffee and never drinking it, the holding is a release. Instead of tuning out the whiners (which is definitely preferable than listening to them, I agree, but remember, we're studying here. Take one for the team.) Study them on TV shows, or movies. Meg Ryan had to keep her hands busy in You've Got Mail. Eva Mendes doesn't make a lot of eye contact with guys in Hitch. Will Smith keeps a snappy one-liner at his beck and call to keep people from getting close.

    Quirk 'em up. It helps the reader to identify the character and identify with the character.

    Mary needs no additional personal quirks. The mouse-a-rat-a-phobia is just plain FUN, and her legendary black skirt/pants....

    The stuff dreams are made of for late night comedy.

    Which goes back to why you should not eat leftovers Mary offers, even virtual ones. Virtual belly aches are not one bit comfortable.

    Love this post Mare. As true today as it was originally. Those archives are chock full of good advice. Solid.

    I'm adding sugar cookies to the buffet, not stale and no mold.


  41. Does anyone else think Sherrinda is in need of an intervention?

  42. Beth Gallagher of "Finding Beth"

    Backstory: Lost the older brother she adored in an accident her father blamed her for, so she ran to the arms of a man who she now fears she needs to escape.

    Goal: Seek God's will for her life, face her fears and learn to trust in God rather than a man during the hard moments of life.

    Quirks: She bites her lower lip when nervous or contemplating something and she has a tendency toward panick attacks.


    lr. mullin at live .com

  43. Your books sound like really great stories. I would love to be entered in the contest.

  44. What are your quirks, Ruthy?

    Just wondering.

  45. I'd love the necklace!!

  46. man I'm hungry today! How 'bout some bbq for lunch with peach cobbler (hot) and ice cream(cold)?! there's an awesome bbq place (luckily for me a bit farther than I normally drive to eat LOL!) that has huge baked potatoes stuffed all the way..ribs..fried okra..french fries..all the 'normal' sides like tater salad, beans, cole slaw...sausage spicy and regular..chicken..chopped/sliced beef with sauce on the side and the best homemade rolls ever - they bring them to the table nice and hot..and yes I've burned my hand a couple of times!and unlimited softdrinks and tea (beer you gotta buy each time!) Blue Bell ice cream and the cobbler is homemade and full of peaches...


  47. Is just being weird considered a quirk?

  48. Thanks for the explanation, Mary. So quirks need to be physical?

    My heroine sings off key and fills in lyrics for songs she can't remember. She also always wears those striped knee socks but that isn't necessarily a quirk...but she is very attached to them.

    Back to the drawing board....I mean writing desk.

    Peace, Julie

  49. LOL, Tina. there a question about either one of us?

  50. Yeah. Are you talking about weird being a quirk for you or Ruthy? I didn't say you were weird. I think you did.

    Possibly you mean your character but I am not sure at this point.

  51. Well, my characters ARE weird - but I was thinking more personally. :-)
    Is being weird a quirk or a personality trait?

  52. Rose moved back to her family home with her toddler son after her husband was sent to prison for bank robbery (c. 1867), and she is widowed at the beginning of the story. She wants to help Calvin (the hero) reconcile with God and recover from the anger and bitterness of losing his wife. She is an excellent correspondent and fiercely independent (both partly as a result of having a husband in prison half a continent away for 10 yrs).

    Now I have a question. How often is a working title changed? And how adamant are publishers about changing them? Even though my first WIP (and only work actually in progress) is not even close to finished, I'm kinda married to the title.

    This was a fun exercise.

    Enter me for the novel.

    andeemarie95 at gmail dot com

  53. Ruth~ You keep talking about my fave. movies. Pretty Woman yesterday (my sister and I spent an entire evening texting the lines of that movie back and forth recently) and Hitch today (my friend had to leave the theater and after Kevin James's dancing scene, or risk wetting herself).

    Mary~ I never realized how mood related cyber food really is. Here's hoping you found something much better at the Budget Inn's continental breakfast this morning.

  54. Well weird is subjective don't you think?

    The fact that Mary kills off secondary characters seems weird to me. But to another historical writer it may seem normal.

    How do we define weird?

    And if Mary defines it as a physical trait well, then it becomes even more difficult.

    Tell me about your character's weirdness, my dear. (hehehe)

  55. Well Tina,
    I meant personally :-)
    I can make weird enough characters :-)

  56. A trait integral to personality is no less part of the person than a trait that is physically integral. Am I wrong about this? Like Rose's correspondence: it's a major part of the story, and something everyone who know her knows about her.

    I like the striped socks by the way, Julie.

  57. I'm champing at the bit to get to Sharpshooter in Petticoats! I gotta figure out how to get an ARC! :D

  58. What???

    An intervention? For me??? Ruth...tsk, tsk! ;)

    Tina thinks I'm sweet!!!

    And I would have to say that both Pepper AND Ruth are, er...quirky/weird. Two peas in a pod, I do believe. And I love them both!

    I'm just oozing sweetness today. Bahahaha!

  59. Grace, formerly Summer Reston, supermodel, has always been liked for her looks not for who she is and she is in hiding from a stalker, her ex-boyfriend/photographer. Her goal is to achieve tenure at the University where she's teaching. Her quirk is that everything is better with Ben & Jerry's ice cream. Well isn't it? :-)

  60. 1) Her backstory is she's an orphan whose guardian is killed at the beginning of the story.

    2) Her quirk is that she always wears her late mother's pearls.

    3) Her goal is to solve her guardian's murder with a rogue Pinkerton Detective who doesn't want a dame's help.

    I'd be delighted to win the critique.

    Mary M

  61. I have Petticoat Ranch waiting to pick up at the library [here's hoping I get to read it before it's due back...]

    Back to taking care of sick kiddos...

  62. Great re-post from the archives -- I've really enjoyed these.

    Backstory: Paige is a sheltered 7th grader who has to move from private to public school when Dad loses his job. Although she's grown up in church, she doesn't know how to live out her faith in the real world.

    Goal: To keep everything else in her life exactly the same as before (which might not sound too realistic for an adult, but remember she's 12 :-) )

    Quirks: She picks at her nails until all the polish comes off when she's agitated. She clams up when she's nervous but ends up laughing at really inappropriate things if she has to speak up.

    I have Mary's book on order, but would love my very own Unpubbed Island necklace or a crit from one of you ladies.

    leighdelozier at bellsouth dot net

  63. Hi, y'all. I'm so excited! I went to the library and they had a few of Mary's books!!!!! And sense I suffer from a little thing called OCD I have to read them in order. They had the very first one in the Lassoed in Texas series!!!!

    Susanna, I hope it is an interesting book. ;)

    Pepper, my heroine's quirk is one of my own. The misquoting scripture not the shooting guns thing. *grins*

  64. Leigh this is the first peek I've had at your story!!! Love it!

  65. Er yeah

    carol at carolmoncado dot com

  66. Hi Mary:

    My hero in “Characters in a Romance” is a philosophical MD who likes to turn things that the heroine says into paradoxical poems. Neither the hero nor the heroine know if they are real people or if they are just characters in a romance. As such this kind of quirkiness adds to the conflict. Below is a sample of what the hero would say:

    Quirky Logic

    If every character
    had a quirk,
    then not having a quirk
    would be a quirk.

    This would make Q
    equal to not Q
    which is like saying
    2 is not equal to 2.

    With Identity gone
    a new logic is born!

    Fuzzy Logic’s OK
    But Quirky: no way.

    Is Edward Lear
    anywhere near?

    (at this point the heroine always does something outrageous to shut him up. Kissing him really works well.)

    BTW: Isn’t it best to select a quirk that serves a purpose besides being a quirk. For example, the little ribbon that Sally McClellen (“Wrangler in Petticoats”) keeps hidden under her mannish clothes also lets the reader know that while she’s a tomboy, who can out-cowboy most of the men, she still sees herself as feminine and is still looking for a man who is man enough to tame her? Or am I just reading too much into a little ribbon?


  67. Hey Mary!
    Very interesting post, but it totally makes sense!! I'm so glad that all of these posts will always be around...someday when I'm staring at that first blank page, I'm going to be SO glad to have this resource AND all of you ladies (plus that fans/frequent commentors *grin*)!! THANKS so mcuh!!

    It's okay to leave me out today too, but thanks for another giveaway!!
    Talk to you soon,

  68. I thought I commented today, but don't see it. Oh well...

    Here I am, reading, enjoying, and eating all the yummy food with y'all.


    I have a carpenter hero. He thinks in terms of wood: the heroine has eyes the color of seasoned pecan.

  69. <<>
    VINCE SAID: My hero in “Characters in a Romance” is a philosophical MD who likes to turn things that the heroine says into paradoxical poems.

    Okay, does this come as a surprise to anyone? :)

    I totally agree with Vince. The quirks do double duty. My heroine in Promises to Keep, cleans. It's her therapy and her way to distance herself from her troubles.

    A great way to layer in character traits.

  70. Love to win Mary's book. thanks

    ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

  71. Mary, Thank goodness, no one ate a bite of that...breakfast. I packed away the stomach pump.

    My quirk? I find leftover moldy pizza repulsive.


  72. Hey, gang. I'm home. Long day. Nice though. A booksigning. Have you ever noticed that the NICEST PEOPLE IN THE WORLD run bookstores or hang around in them.

    But nice to be home, too, and read all your quirks...uh...I mean your CHARACTERS quirks.

    And being afraid of mice isn't a QUIRK, Ruthy. It's a PHOBIA. Give it some respect, okay????

    And wearing the same pair of black slacks to everything is just common sense, not a quirk.

  73. I have to say this whole week of posts has been very helpful for me. Character quirks are one of the hardest parts of the character formation for me. I don't know why, but it is.

    I will be visiting here often.

    I wouldn't mind winning a critique or Mary's book.

    Abbi :-)

  74. Great stories, quirks and characters here.

    Glad you're home Mary. Know the folks were blessed seeing you!

    No, April is a secondary character but I'm not killing her off... Yet anyhow.

    Yay Vince - such a pleasure.

  75. Leigh, I'm learning to appreciate juvenile Christian fiction and I love your premise. Picking nail polish off is something I've always done when nervous.

    I've been having my 12 year old review books. I was so excited when she did her first one because she had a voice!

  76. Thanks, Tina, I appreciate the compliment/encouragement. I'm having so much fun with Paige's story it makes me wonder why I ever stopped writing for MGs. :-)

    Vince, your poems always make me smile. I've always admired people with a gift for writing poetry.

    Mary, were you doing a signing as part of Christian Store Day? I really wanted to get to our closest Lifeway that was participating but errands for the kids sapped the day. Sigh. Hope yours went well!


  77. Great post!

    Backstory: disability
    Goal: to lead a normal life
    Quirk: I'll have to think of one

    Eva Maria Hamilton at gmail dot com

  78. I may be too late for yesterday's breakfast (it sounded good, though!) but I hope I'm not too late to post here. :)

    Claire's nuclear family held her together though a life of change and chaos. Her goal is to stop her family from falling apart when a terminal illness lays claim to one of them. I hadn't thought of giving her quirks, but now I realize she needs them! I'll definitely be putting more thought into this. :)

    Thanks for this very educational post! :)

    I'd love the critique (if I'm not too late for this draw). Thanks! :)


  79. Please count me in for the book giveaway. Thanks.

  80. A great post! i would like to be entered into the drawing for the necklace.
    Linda Cacaci

  81. Congrats to all the winners!

    I'm kinda sad that our birthday bash is coming to a close in a week because this has been SO fun.

    Hugs all!

  82. Too late to win but the contest is cool and the challenge a great one to keep in mind for our local writers' group. Thank you.

    Still, got to give it a try.

    With a name like Siobhan she'll always struggle to fit in; having thick red hair, a father who's the world's best magician on TV, and an inability to live in one house for more than a year at a time doesn't help much either.

  83. What a great post! I try to fill out a "profile" on all my characters whenever I start a book- but this is a simple way of identifying them.

    My character is Nina. Her "back-story" is that she is a second generation missionary who smuggles Bibles behind the iron curtain. Then you find out that she also smuggles children of imprisoned Christians out of Communist countries.

    Her "goal" is to find a place of belonging. With all her family dead she feels displaced and alone.

    Her "quirk" is grinding her teeth when shes afraid.