Writing Characters' Habits

JeopardyWhen writers write characters’ habits, they can show body language like rubbing a nose, flipping long hair, etc. Habits can include lucky objects that a character uses before a challenge like a rabbit’s foot or a special crystal, penny, or any number of choices. In my novel, Norman in the Painting, I wanted Jill, the protagonist, to have a habit that she could rely on to put her at ease.

When she was growing up, her parents favored her older sister and wanted Jill to be like Vivian. Arguments often occurred during dinner hour, which for them, was 6:00. One way she survived, was to leave the room after dinner, go to her room, and turn on TV. Jeopardy, with Alex Trebek at 7:00 became her comfort zone. She could depend on him, six nights of the week. The program took her mind off the parents’ high expectations of her and their disappointments by seeing how many Jeopardy questions she would answer correctly. I’ll have to find the right place to intersperse that bit of backstory.

In the novel’s time frame, she continues to watch Jeopardy to avoid an altercation with her sister on a stormy night and another time when the antagonist threatens her. Following the power of three (repetitions), I will add one more time that she will rely on Trebek.

What habits do your characters have?

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timetowritenow

For over twenty-five years, I've taught elementary grades, high school, and county special education classes. Now I am a field supervisor for teachers working toward their teaching credentials. I also teach writing classes in Dublin and Pleasanton, California. I have won 5 awards in short story contests, My stories are published in The California Writers Club Literary Review, and several anthologies including four times in Las Positas College collections. I have several book projects, but the two that have my immediate attention are HADA'S FOG, which is women's fiction, LILLI, a YA novel, and NORMAN IN THE PICTURE, a paranormal mystery. I have published an anthology WRITTEN ACROSS THE GENRES that includes writings from members of my writing classes and other writers. It's available on Amazon and Kindle.

6 thoughts on “Writing Characters' Habits”

  1. Very interesting placing that habit during that timeframe. Someone in my immediate family head for the bathroom right before dinner was finished.

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