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Monday, July 18, 2016

Cats, Dogs, and Borderline Fools with Ann Everett #RB4U #RomSus @TalkinTwang

Back in the 80’s, when I was just a tot child teen, age isn’t important, country music singer, K. T. Oslin burst onto the scene with her Grammy winning song, 80’s Ladies, which began:
We were three little girls from school
One was pretty, one was smart and one was a borderline fool.

I didn’t know at the time those lyrics would make such an impact concerning my future career. Most of my stories revolve around three female characters, and…one will be pretty, one will be smart, and one will be quirky. I spend a lot of time developing the foolish one, because even though she isn’t the main character, experience tells me she will steal a lot of the scenes.
Let’s face it, a border-line fool can get away with some silly dialogue. And if it’s spoken in a strong southern accent, it’s even funnier. Try reading the two examples below with a twang. No, really. Do it. It’ll make you laugh.
 “I have a feeling if I was alone with him, I’d need a whole lot of Jesus to keep my panties on.”
“I’m so tired, I feel like I’ve been ironing all day in high heels and no brassiere.”
Yeah, those characters can take center stage with one silly remark and provide a ton of comic relief.
I love reading stories with unusual characters with weird hang-ups. Fears of skunks, clowns, gnomes, mimes. Somebody with a sharp tongue and never at a loss with a snarky comeback. A female with an unexpected vocation. Auctioneer, evangelist, horse trainer. I like someone who’s awkward or clumsy.
I spend a fair amount of time developing that type of character. It isn’t hard. Take a walk at the mall or if you live in a small town like me, Walmart. Pay attention to how people dress. How they talk. Their mannerisms. Maybe they suck their teeth following every sentence. Or have a favorite catch word or phrase. Maybe they move their dentures around in their mouth. Make notes. And, voila! You’ve got a character. Usually, a pretty funny one.
Other scene stealers are cats and dogs. Not only do most readers love animals, it gives the human characters a chance to reveal important information through conversations with their pets. I don’t know of single pet owner who doesn’t talk to their furry friends.  If you choose to, you can make them different, too. I have cat in one story with one ear and three legs. She’s a favorite among readers.
Dogs and cats are the most popular pets, but hey, Janet Evanovich gave new credibility to Hamsters, so unusual animals can be fun, too.
Since I’m from Texas, in one of my books, I introduced a talking bird, named after our most prolific songwriter, Willie Nelson. The African Grey knew all of Willie’s songs, along with a string of cuss words.
I saw a tee-shirt the other day and wished I’d used it as my tag line. Classy, sassy, and a little smart-assy. I think that’s just another way of saying pretty, smart, and borderline fool.
My point to all this…even in romance a little comic relief or oddity isn’t a bad thing. Readers like peculiar players. Plus, who wants to read something where all the personalities are the same?
Do you use weird characters in your work? If so, is it a conscious decision, or does the story just take you there? I love learning other techniques. Comment and let me know how you develop your characters.

Learn more about Ann and her books @


Cara Marsi said...

I really appreciate your humor. Enjoyed your column. I agree about the quirky characters. I need to write more of them into my books. Readers, myself included, love quirky characters.

Melissa Keir said...

I love crazy characters and pets. I have a dog that's a scene stealer in Crash and Burn. Then there's children... they can also say what they want! And you know something is going to come out at the wrong time!

I loved 80's Ladies... and I'm not old. :) Enjoy!!

jean hart stewart said...

Love your dialogue....Very clever......

Ann Everett said...

Thanks for hosting me today. I really appreciate it and thanks to all who commented!

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