This week: Detective QuirksEdited by: ~Minja~
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“At the small table, sitting very upright, was one of the ugliest old ladies he had ever seen. It was an ugliness of distinction - it fascinated rather than repelled.” ― Agatha Christie, Murder on the Orient Express
“The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes.” ― Arthur Conan Doyle; Corrections And Editor Edgar W. Smith; Illustrators, The Hound of the Baskervilles
“Only once in a generation does anything as fresh as a vomiting detective come along.” ― Dean Koontz, Odd Thomas
"You can always tell a detective on TV. He never takes his hat off." ― Raymond Chandler
any of the most famous detectives in literature have distinctive quirks that set them apart from the other characters. When thinking about quirks you want to give your character don't think about the physical appearance only. Yes, your character can have a recognizable pair of mustache like Hercule Poirot, but he can also have an obsessive-compulsive disorder like Adrian Monk and be memorable. Anything can be a quirk as long as it is unusual and as long as your readers are able to recognize and remember it. As I am writing this newsletter I keep thinking about Horatio Caine from one of my favorite crime series CSI: Miami and his cool appearance and those one-liners after which he would put back his sunglasses on. So, you see, literally, anything can be a quirk.
In order to use character quirks, you'd need to, of course, make them important to the plot. I mentioned Horatio Caine. When you watch CSI: Miami and see him taking a specific pose after which he points out the clue, you know that is important for the investigation. After he puts his sunglasses on you know his word is the last, you know these one-liners contributed to the plot more than, probably, everything his team already did by then.
Character quirks can be used often but make sure to not overuse them. Again, if you watch CSI: Miami you know that Horatio doesn't always have his sunglasses on and he doesn't always drop the bomb and remove himself from the screen. Sometimes he conversates in a different manner than usual.
Make sure you give your characters unique quirks otherwise readers will only remember them as a poor interpretation of someone else. Thankfully, as I mentioned, literally anything can be a quirk so you have plenty of choices.
Here are a couple of ideas:
Unusual hair/eye color
Tatooes or piercings
Always having his/her cigarettes on when solving the case
They have that one shirt they seem to never take off because it is like a lucky charm to them
He/she suffer some form of mental illness
Your detective is extremely introvert/extrovert
He/she feels awkward in any kind of love relationship
He/she is always serious
Your detective has exceptional wit
Your detective has a great affection toward certain author
He/she owns unusual pet such as snake, turtle, lizard, etc
He/she despise when people don't use glass pad
Your detective only drinks water/coffee
He/she snaps fingers on an important clue
Until next time, try to observe the people around you.
Excerpt: For each round, I will disguise a quote—which could have been sung, spoken, or scrawled—and your task is to be one of the first five people to decipher it.
Excerpt: Holdfast had all the gear, the trilby hat, the rumpled raincoat and rubber-soled shoes. He had rented a decaying office in an old, three-storey building in the worst area of town. His father’s antique desk had been dragged in and he bought chairs and a filing cabinet at knockdown prices from a pawnbroker. These were supplemented with a hatstand to aim at whenever he returned from a job. The final touch was a signwriter’s best efforts at the announcement on the glass-windowed door. Holdfast Detective Agency it opined. All he needed now was a client.
Excerpt: The drive over was easy, there was almost no one on the road. While the blood had been cleaned up by our forensics team, the stench of death still filled the mansion. The flash of blue seemed to come from the patio by Chandler's office, so I went over and looked at it. Somehow, everyone had missed a credit card sitting beside the plant. I pulled on rubber gloves and picked it up. Suzanne Waterson. Chase Bank. Nothing out of the ordinary except for the expiration date. 10/2028. "What the actual..."
Excerpt: Decklan leaned back and scratched his head, mussing his short, blonde hair. “That’s another mystery. She’s a suspect in your boyfriend’s death, but she also might have run from fear of whoever got him. Or she could be dead too, and they haven’t found her body yet. Whatever the case, she knew what was happening when he disappeared, because she fell off the grid thirty six hours later.”
Excerpt: Dylan sat above the crowd on the ledge of the service area, where the finished drinks were 'placed for pickup. Since no one could see him he could sit wherever he wanted. Sometimes he sat right on the table amid a large group of people. He would mimic their talk and move their spoons, sometimes slipping them into their pockets if he could. He tapped into the minds of the customers, looking for someone who was open to experiencing ghosts and the paranormal.
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