This post is especially for MG books, but could be used in other categories too.
Three-dimensional characters are a must. I've had other posts on how to do this, but you know what? It isn't enough to just have 3-d characters - they have to be involved in 3-d relationships, too. And the best way to develop a relationship is to add quirks. This time, let's look at a family dynamic.
Recently my sister posted a note on facebook about why we love our mum and dad. Here are a few examples:
1. They wear matching outfits. Accidently. And often.
2. Dad has to stand on phonebooks in family portraits so he can be taller than mum.
3. We often find Australia drawn on oranges in the fruit bowl, immediately understanding that dad has been trying to explain to mum how a solar eclipse works.
4. Mum never checking spell check on her phone and her children receive messages such as “Are you home tonight? We’re having a smart dinner.” (Meant to say ROAST dinner).
5. Mum calling us ‘fruit’ as we are the fruit of her loins.
6. The hilarity of the constant and continuous arguments at Christmas over silver tinsel getting all over the floor, what colours of the do-it-yourself plastic tree go in what order, and how to ‘nicely drape’ the lights. Then dad just ends up doing it all.
7. That mum has always been more excited at birthdays and Christmases than all of us. Combined.
8. Mum’s drawing in Pictionary (has to be seen to be believed).
9. Everyone fighting to not be on mum’s team in Pictionary.
10. Dad being able to remember exactly what he and everyone around him ate 20 years ago.
11. Mother’s Day walks which ended with ice cream as a reward.
12. Mum's comforting, wise sayings, and the fact she always gets them wrong - "Don't let the turkeys get you down" is one of her favourites. We still don't know what it means.
Now how much can you already tell about my family from that? And the best thing is, I can use all of these for my stories. Why bother making up my own family quirks when there's a goldmine of them right here?
Try making a list of your family's/friend's quirks and see if you can come up with a goldmine on your own.