20130530-075447.jpg What makes you different from everyone else?

We’ve spent the past seven Fridays looking at things we have in common with the characters in books. The things that we can relate to and learn from as we read their stories. Things like goals, reasons to pursue them, obstacles in the path, character growth, lies to overcome, different backgrounds, and how faith affects our daily lives.

But what makes us unique? What sets us apart? It might be a physical trait like Rapunzel’s hair, Snow White’s pale complexion and red lips, or Santa’s belly. Uniqueness may come from always wearing and surrounding oneself with the same color. It may show up as an extensive collection of owls, Elvis, or Coca-cola memorabilia.

It’s also those quirks and habits that others notice about us such as biting our lower lip when nervous or twirling a strand of hair or always straightening things. Maybe it’s a pet phrase that always crops up in conversations. It’s those special-to-us characteristics that impersonators pounce upon to entertain their audiences.

When I think about unique characters, I’m reminded of the cast on NCIS. Gibbs always taps the idiotic underlings on the backs of their heads and retreats to his basement to work on a boat when he needs time away. Abby dresses like a Goth Pippi Longstocking and sucks down giant sodas. McGee is the strait-laced nerd type who secretly wrote a book. Then add in the Israeli agent who messes up American idioms, the ladies-man hunk, and the Scottish medical examiner who breaks from autopsies to spout historical facts. We know exactly how each of them will react in situations and each adds a special piece to the investigative team.

I want my characters to embrace their unique qualities and consistently be themselves. Because that’s what brings them off the page and into our imagination.

What about you? What makes you unique? Why is it easier to spot these traits in others? If someone was to do an Impersonation of you, what would they include? Would you be surprised?

Uniquely You
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