Bad Habits

We see people with bad habits all around us in real life so they definitely have a place in our novels.  We have people who pick their teeth after a meal - in a restaurant - do they not know how wrong that is? Then of course we have the more obvious ones that come to mind such as drinkers, smokers, gamblers, cheaters, liars.  Let's brainstorm this for a minute.  Any amount of time spent on analyzing human behavior can only have a positive effect on our work.  After all, we want our characters to be real.

Think of things that irk you, put these characteristics or mannerisms in your book.

Here's some I've used:
Knuckle cracking
Key / change jiggling
Finger snapping
Chain smoking
Drinking for dealing with stress
A MC who had cheated on his wife

What about you?  What sort of characteristics, or bad habits bug you in real life, and what ones have you incorporated in your work?


  1. Cute; this was a fun reminder of how little things like bad habits can help bring our characters to life. I love the ones you mentioned. I had a character who did a lot of fidgeting, and another who was always picking at her nail polish. :)

  2. Currently, my MC is a smoker. But bad habits isn't something I think about. As always, your post has made me reconsider possibly changing some things or adding a bad habit to one or two of my characters. We all have those annoying little habits that make those around us want to strangle us even though they love us. Why not have the same for our characters?

  3. one of my mc's has a bad habit of finding and pushing people's buttons..
    one nemesis runs his hand thru thinning hair when he's stressed and another is always adjusting his glasses. didnt think about it til you said it. grear observation!

  4. I've worked in nail biting and constant finger tapping. My current MC is a smoker, and so when the stress is up those cigarettes start coming one after the other!

    I try to make a point of at least one character always having a certain characteristic. To me it's makes them seem real.

  5. I have a character that is constantly scanning the area around her. Paranoid much? Or just always on her guard?


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