The experts say that in developing good characters you can often make use of character “tags” – those particular habits, mannerisms, and gestures inherent to a personality. You can’t overdue it, but sometimes your readers will know who’s involved in a scene by a character tag, like:
Tapping a pen on a table
Pulling at one’s ear
Clearing your throat (my wife claims that when I talking on the phone to an attractive woman, I clear my throat a lot. She’s wrong.)
A shuffle walk
The sound of a cane
Chewing gum like it was a cow’s cud
A harsh, annoying laugh
An unusual odor, e.g. coco butter
Constant eye blinking.

I’d really like contributions to this list. Tags are helpful.


2 responses to “Tags

  1. How about … a penetrating gaze, the firm set of his jaw, a familiar twinkle in his eyes, the nervous clicking of her teeth, the stench of the barn, the perfection of his suit?
    Am I on the right track here?

    • You sure are. These are things that we readers would know the person is on scene without the author telling us. Like “She heard those irritating clicking of teeth in the next room.” Damn, she thought, will that woman every leave me alone?”

      The reader would know who the woman was without the author telling her. Earlier it would have been established that XXX always clicked her teeth.

      Maybe the last two in your list, don’t work as well.

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