Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Is Quirky a Good Thing

Is Quirky a Good Thing

Is it ever worthwhile to de-quirk a novel?

My book has one seriously odd character: a home-schooled narrator. The consensus among replying agents, however, is that the voice is just too "quirky". Fair enough, but now what?

Is a complete re-write in order? And a re-query to follow?

Or should I trash the manuscript, hit the bottle, and move on?
Yes, sometimes it is worthwhile to revise this sort of thing.

Quirky can be great-- it can mean charming, funny, unique. But "too quirky"... If youre getting a lot of this feedback, I would start to wonder if what the agents really mean is weird and distancing.

The right amount of quirky reminds people of themselves, their own uniquenesses. Too much, though, and you can lose your audience, especially among kids, who can be pretty judgemental about weirdness in others.

Still there are good examples of very unusual behaviors and world views that absolutely work for the book theyre in... Because the author has taken the trouble to make them make sense for that character-- to show us why they have these quirks.

I would suggest that you ask yourself which of your characters quirks are serving the character development enough that its worth going to the trouble of showing the reader why the character has those quirks... and which quirks you maybe just added for "flavor"-- as a shorthand for character development. I have a hunch that some of those quirks just arent earning their keep in your story.

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