Noses and Other Traits

Hello, Imaginers! I haven't posted much recently and I'm sorry. You know the drill--I was busy and I was just barely traveling for a week.

But! I have a post now to share with you. Enjoy.

I don't smell well. No, that's not a grammatical mistake; it's not that I smell bad, I'm just bad at smelling. I can't really distinguish any scents. Except maybe a little bit lemon? And really bad smells. But mostly, I am not the world's best sniffer. At all. A toddler of the age of two years can probably smell better than I can.

So why am I telling you this? It's just one of those things that doesn't come up often in real life but would come up if you were a book character. These little traits make characters so much more real. It's like if a character is allergic to wheat, or if they're always hungry, or if they have really dry hands. (By the way, SHOUTOUT TO MAGGIE STIEFVATER for being the one to finally write a character who had dry hands. Thank you. So much. I feel so much kinship towards poor Adam.) For example, I read about a character who loved food and ate constantly. This made me so much more worried when she was ill and had no appetite.

I think this is something I probably need to work on in my writing...making my characters believable. Making them rub the back of their neck or pinch the bridge of their nose when they're worried. Checking their watch more often than they need to. Chewing their lip. Having a weird birthmark on their face. Chewing their fingernails. Being addicted to peppermint gum. Loving the taste of apple juice. Hating orange juice. Not drinking soda. Having bad ankles. Having weirdly big toes. Having weirdly thick bones. Being annoyed when people don't use the Oxford comma. All these things that make characters real.

I read somewhere that if you stuck real people in a book, they'd be unbelievable characters. The thing is, we readers like our characters a little bit typecast. It's confusing if a person likes blogging, baking, and writing, collects little figurines, loves pens, and owns far too many quills. But hey! That's me! (I actually have a love/hate relationship with little figurines...anyhow...)

So, is that last paragraph related to the rest of the post? Of course not, but I'll make it work! We need some of these little traits, but not all of them. For instance, Gansey (The Raven Boys, which I've managed to mention twice now) has several little traits (chewing mint leaves, rubbing his thumb over his lower lip, building a tiny model of his town when he can't sleep and I swear I'm not as creepy as I sound), but he doesn't ALSO chew his fingernails AND can't smell AND have bad ankles. That's just a little over-the-top.

So, what am I trying to say? I DON'T KNOW BECAUSE I'M CERTAINLY IN NO POSITION TO GIVE WRITING ADVICE. Just thinking aloud I guess.

Bye guys!


  1. That was quite an interesting ramble-- it gave me a fit of giggles. I think you would make a wonderful book character, which I mean as a sincere compliment, because I am an odd child.
    And, its interesting to know about your smelling thing and dry hands. I hadn't known that. This has inspired me to write a post, which i shall go do now. Thanks for getting my creative juices flowing!


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