Recently I had the pleasure of reading an article regarding the quirks and preferences of some of the most influential and breathtaking writers ever. Writers such as Hemingway and Faulkner were featured as well as several others whose work has shaped my thoughts and feelings about certain things, as well as shaping literature in a way mere words fail to describe.
It was in reading this article, how some writers liked particular pencils, or typewriters, or used a combination depending on day or time, and other fascinating tidbits about them, that I got to thinking about the little quirks we all have and that often find their way into my characters. Everything in my life it seems has these little quirks, from the dog, to my horses, to the people in my life. They all have their preferences, their "absolutely not" moments, their likes and dislikes. It is not only fascinating but down right inspiring when I started to really contemplate the quirks that make us the characters that we all are.
For example, my favorite horse had to get on the trailer a particular way. He would not get on the trailer if anyone was even remotely close to him. By remotely close I mean within a five foot radius. He would plant his feet and not budge for anything, not cajoling, bribing, or lightning strike, he simply wouldn't go. There was more than one occassion when my father contemplated leaving my horse somewhere after spending hours trying to get him on the trailer. An old cowboy one day finally suggested we let him do it himself. So we did and it worked. All we had to do was step back and throw his lead rope up over his neck about ten steps from the trailer and he would walk right on all by himself like the thought of doing otherwise had never occurred to him.
Some of the people in my life, alright most of the people in my life, are the same way. They hall have their ideas, preferences, little things that make them interesting, different, and yes, often difficult. Among the many gifts being a writer has given me, however, is the ability to look at the people in my life, especially the difficult ones, and see the character within them. While all my characters are fictional of course, often little quirks I come across in real life do make their way into one of my characters here and there. This makes the challenging people in my life less so and my writing that much more realistic and fun. A little quirk about life and writing for which I am extremely thankful.