popcornEach of us has personal quirks, but do you know anyone with a quirk so original that it has become a personal trademark? In this quote from Comedy Isn’t Funny by Chris Smith, we meet Lorne Michaels, the creative genius behind Saturday Night Live. He has a very interesting personal trademark!

Fresh popcorn heralds Michaels’s every entrance. Whether he’s about to arrive at his seventeenth-floor office at NBC, with its breathtaking view of the Empire State Building; the eighth-floor Saturday Night studio; this ninth-floor office overlooking the studio; or his handsome Broadway Video offices a couple of blocks west in the Brill Building, a blond wicker basket of warm kernels precedes him, usually delivered by one of several blonde female assistants in their early twenties. Cast members call these high-strung women the Lornettes.

Writing Prompt: Create a character with a personal trademark.

Journaling Prompt: What would others say is your personal trademark?

Art Prompt: Popcorn

Nonfiction / Speech Writing Prompt: Write a humorous piece about a friend with an “interesting” personal trademark. Or make fun of your own.
I can’t wait to see what you come up with, so post your work or a link in the Comments section.

Photo Credit: jessica.diamond on Flickr

3 Responses to Prompt #10: Trademarks

  1. Marc says:

    Personal quirks can work extremely well to add that little bit of extra spice to a particularly quirky character, however sometimes I feel like relatively average folks in stories are given these crazy quirks to make them seem more interesting, but they wouldn’t realistically do things like that if they were real characters, ya know? 🙂

    If you have some really intellectual, analytical, philosophical, kinda eccentric character, give them lots of personal quirks. Their personal quirks can become the story in and of themselves! However, if you have something of a simple character (not dumb, just very basic, easy to please, goal oriented, etc.), lots of unrealistic personal quirks can not bog down their simplicity, but it can water down the quirks of other characters that might be more important to shine light on, 🙂
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    • Liz says:

      I think everyone has personal quirks. The issue is how big they are. Not all your characters should have flamboyant quirks. But they should have something. Nothing bores me more quickly than a book full of cardboard characters. I start to forget from one chapter to the next who is who. So I like a little something quirky about everyone. But not flamboyantly quirky.

  2. Liz says:

    Here’s a great podcast from the guys at Writing excuses about the dos and don’ts of using character quirks. Good stuff! Character Quirks

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