… a tiny sample from 1001 Character Quirks for Writing Fiction. Literally, the full list is more than 10 times as big. Of course, the list of quirks is the easy part, because they’re just character ideas, and ideas are a dime a dozen.
8. Denies any fact that does not fit into his theory of how things work.
15. Instantly knows what others feel.
24. Disorganized (but always knows where everything is).
35. Always hides cash in his sock, shorts, bra, etc.
40. Becomes excited at the prospect of watching a movie, skydiving, eating chocolate, playing the stock market, etc.
59. Always breaks things, trips over things, etc.
63. Feels familial affection for or attraction to cats, horses, cows, etc.
75. Distrusts people who talk with an accent, have blue eyes, can’t remember his name, etc.
84. Refuses to fight with anyone wearing glasses, smaller than himself, etc.
90. Insists everyone call him by a different name each day, depending on his mood.
104. Believes that God is a sham created by the clergy to get money.
115. Always bragging about past accomplishments, even made-up ones.
122. Refuses to use microwaves, cell phones, computers, etc.
138. Rude to everyone.
143. Professes multiple, incompatible religions.
159. Overly sensitive sense of smell, hearing, sight, etc.
163. Hobnobs with a certain person only in private.
174. Always looking for a cure for a disease or condition he has.
188. Shouts “I’m here!” (or something else) when startled.
194. Speaks every errant thought.
209. Upset when faced with a messy room.
217. Tall, but envies those who are short. (Or the reverse.)
223. Never laughs; treats every joke as though it were serious.
232. Always laughs at the wrong things; offbeat sense of humor.
248. Must control everyone and everything.
254. Carries batteries (and toys) with him everywhere.
266. Carries cookies in his purse.
271. Makes Batman noises (e.g. Bam!, Pow!, etc.) at an antagonist to express anger, dissatisfaction, etc.
284. Has 2 differently colored eyes.
291. Never asks for help; always tries to do everything himself.
305. Knows many facts in his expertise, and always corrects everyone else.
312. Always sucking on a Certs or lollipop, munching on pretzels, etc.
329. Relates everything to a fable or allegory.
334. Always replies to any email within 24 hours.
355. Loves playing catch with kittens.
361. Always uses a handkerchief to touch a public telephone, chair, etc.
376. Lives to role-play.
385. Reads every newspaper and website; watches every news program.
397. Always gets off on a tangent, tirade, etc.
405. Eats Buffalo-sauce-and-Blue-cheese burgers, mustard sandwiches, etc.
412. Frequently says the wrong word, makes Freudian slips, etc.
420. Hates to sweat, and is turned off by people who sweat profusely.
434. Can drive at excessive speed, weaving in and out of traffic, without getting in an accident.
446. Loves to sing “99 Bottles of Beer,” etc.
459. Names and becomes attached to stuffed animals, caterpillars, rocks, raindrops on the window, etc.
461. Takes every question as a criticism (or complement).
473. Always works very hard, but has no concrete goals.
486. Never talks about his past (or future).
491. Insists on remaining the same, even while everyone else is changing.
507. Always says he worked hard, in order to justify the result of his work.
514. Feels no sadness, anger, nervousness, etc., but can fake it pretty well.
523. Wakes promptly at 6 PM; falls asleep at 10 AM.
535. Prattles on about trivia when there are significant matters to discuss.
544. Willing to do anything for information (if for a greater purpose).
559. Could never accept that his close friend has a fatal flaw, even if true.
564. Can’t swallow pills.
573. Never expresses his feelings about someone else, until they explode.
580. Becomes depressed unless given a steady stream of positive feedback.
598. Always faces an emergency by taking command of the situation.
603. Has drawn up a list of transgressions and a revenge appropriate for each.
618. Turned on by any woman’s name (or man’s) with a certain sound in it.
623. Believes Tupperware parties, AA meetings, etc. are actually planning meetings for a secret underground conspiracy.
631. Always knocking things, leaving things on the floor.
645. One day each week, instead of working in the office, takes his laptop and works in the park, coffee shop, etc.
656. Brags about a new game he made up using a see-saw.
664. “It’ll never make any difference” only strengthens his resolve.
670. Has psoriasis on his scalp, underarms, private areas, etc., and scratches.
689. Loathes to be photographed.
696. Always treats everyone with respect, no matter their class or station.
709. Becomes mired in grief when his favorite fictional character dies.
718. Asks for exactly the same thing over and over, even after being told repeatedly that it’s infeasible, impossible, unavailable, etc.
724. Agrees quickly (by silence), but later comes to a different conclusion.
733. Sees all art as “whatever you interpret it as,” including family photos.
743. Practically gives money away, knowing it will come back manyfold.
755. Brilliant strategist; always seems to have planned for any contingency.
760. Easily deceived by anyone who uses words he doesn’t understand.
774. Always finds an excuse not to tell a woman how he feels about her.
788. Always tweaks what he’s already completed, to make it better.
795. Needs to be the center of attention.
809. Accomplished illusionist. (But uses this skill only subversively.)
816. Always looks and acts stupid, but is a passionate master persuader.
824. His online persona is of a different age, sex, etc.
831. Can find happiness with any lover.
845. Prefers computer sex to the real thing.
852. Loves to wear costume jewelry, tricked out clothing, etc.
867. Raises chickens, pigs, etc.
877. Has a crush on Underdog, Superman, Wonder Woman, etc.
883. Can’t stand to do the same thing day after day.
895. Intensely passionate in what they pursue and believe.; frequently blowing up or screaming because of this passion.
904. Will accept almost anything as “normal,” once it is explained to him.
912. Always wants someone to help him, even with the simplest tasks.
928. Always forms an emotional attachment to fine cars, collectibles, etc., even if owned by someone else, and feels slighted if the they are mistreated.
930. Never looks a person in the eye, and always talks in a monotone voice.
944. Always tries to be nice, and always ends up insulting someone.
959. Always gets others to agree first to something he doesn’t want, knowing it will make it easier to get them to agree later to what he does want.
964. Loves sailing, motorboating, yachting, waterskiing, etc.
977. Puts maple syrup, salt, butter, etc. on everything.
985. Always offended when he discovers that someone listened to him just to shut him up (and then didn’t follow his advice).
992. Miriam Stockley’s song “Perfect Day” makes him cry, feel happy, etc.