My dad is quite possibly the hardest working person I know. Throughout my childhood and teenage years, he taught school, coached a myriad of sports and ran a construction company. He often, mindlessly, opened and closed his right hand as well, trying to loosen the soreness that gathered during the manual labor that was building a residence for someone.
|Photo credit Wayne Decker (featuring his hands)|
I started thinking about tendencies that we pick up without realizing we do. I mirror my dad in many ways often, my husband inherited his mother's ability to carry on a conversation with anyone. I see glimpses of stubbornness in my son and daughters which I know they picked up from me, though none of them have it manifest in quite the same way.
Fitting that they are stubbornly unique in their stubbornness.
As much as we would like to proclaim ourselves individuals, unique entities that roam through this world with a plan of our very own, we can never separate ourselves from being the people who came before us.
Chances are decent, if you take a step back and think about it, you too have mannerisms like certain family members. Their presence may surprised you at times as well.
But if we have this, wouldn't it make sense that characters should as well. This isn't the sort of thing that needs to be told to the reader necessarily, but something that should be woven in, something that makes the character have depth by tying them in to the lives that were lived before and with. It may manifest as mine did, in a subconscious movement, or it could be a saying that has latched on to the deepest regions of a character's mind that only shows when all efforts to restrain are forfeited.
We hear all the time that our characters need to be real. I'm of the firm opinion that realness comes from giving them history, and what better history is there to draw from than their own familial tendencies.
What mannerisms and nuances have you inherited? Which characters have you loved that have a strong familial thread woven into their character tapestry?