Writing Prompts: Annoying Characters

Fodder for character development can be found in our fellow human beings. Like for instance, there is a woman at my job who’s voice grates against my nerves like steel scraping against steel and she likes to talk…a lot. She also likes to ask a lot of questions with obvious answers like, “Do you know how to type?” when I’m speeding away at 50wpm without looking at the keyboard.

The girl isn’t all bad. She does have some good traits but eight hours of the two listed above is enough to make me want to bowl with her head. So today’s writing prompt is all about annoying characters.

What makes an annoying character? It is their persistance, knowingly or not, in doing the things another character finds obnoxious. Reread that sentence another time. Why? Because while I might think my co-worker sounds like two cats going at it in an alleyway, her boyfriend may think she has the voice of an angel. It’s all about perspective.

My father worked with a germaphobe once. Everyday he smoked everyone out of the office with the obsessive/compulsive spritzing of Lysol Disinfectant Spray all around his desk. He shares a baby wipe fetish with Monk. My father and co-workers found this to be obnoxious to the extreme but to the poor guy at the center of attention this daily ritual is the difference between life or death.

Your assignment:

1-Try to create the most annoying character you can think of. Put them in the midst of characters likely to be just as offended as you and see what happens. Or better yet, put the character in a room full of others just like them. Does the character feel at home? Or does it become a competition as to who can be the most annoying?

2-Think about your hero’s likes and dislikes. How can you use this information to get the antagonist under their skin?

3-Look around at your fellow human beings. What are some annoying they do that you can incorporate into your characters to help bring them to life and make them believable?

4-What are some qualities about yourself that others find annoying? Think about what issues other people may have that makes your traits drive them up the wall. How did they come across these particular quirks?