Okay, for those of you who don't watch Ru Paul's Drag Race, you won't know what that means. So, I'll 'splain.
This season there was a drag queen named....Bob the Drag Queen. And her trade mark entry to a room was with arm held straight out, purse held out in front of her, and entering before her. It was cute, said a lot about her and her way of thinking, and made it her stand out. I even saw a photo of the actress (Anna Kendrick) from Pitch Perfect doing, "Purse first" while heading to an award show.
So what has that got to do with writing ?
Character development: there is no such thing as a new plot, a new character, a new situation. There are only so many ideas around and we've been bastardizing them since Shakespeare's time (probably before). So you need to make your characters, like your world and your plot, unique.
In the world of urban fantasy, there plenty of tough chicks who kick paranormal ass. The good ones have something that stands out from the kicking ass, midriff wearing crowd. One of the forerunners of urban fantasy would be Laurell K. Hamilton (I would argue along with Mercedes Lackey and her Diana Tregard books). Anita Blake was tough, fiery, and had a thing for stuffed penguins. Not as unique, perhaps, as a drag queen entering all rooms with purse extended, but it stuck in my mind. I haven't read her books in many years...but I still recall the penguins.
Now this doesn't mean sitting there and thinking, "OH! What little quirk can I give my character? I know! Stuffed turtles!" What ever quirk you have needs to fit the character. Purse first definitely fit Bob the Drag Queen. Other drag queens couldn't have pulled it off.
Whether you're a plotter and map out every bit of your characters before you dive in to write, or a seat of the pants writer--make sure to give your characters a memorable and unique habit or quirk. Nothing huge, or story stealing, just a little something that makes the character more real and special for the reader.
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