As I write my latest novel, I have begun to think about quirks that I can use to keep my characters distinct enough so that readers can identify them by their habits instead of using the ubiquitous ‘he said, she said’ tags. The scene I’m currently working on takes place in a resturant, so I brainstormed to come up with a few habits I observed while people watching at a local eating establishment.
1-People who talk with their hands will also shake their sodas or stab their food in your direction to make a point.
2-Some people wolf their food down, barely chewing it, before washing it down with great gulps of soda.
3-People will pick items off their sandwich, instead of ordering it the way they like it. I’ve even seen a few use a napkin to scrap off unwanted condiments.
4-People don’t clean up after themselves; while others clean up after the clean up crew.
5-Some people salt their ketchup, not their fries.
6-Some eat their sandwich first, then their fries, then drink their drink. One thing at a time.
7-I’ve watched people pick the seeds off the hamburger bun, before eating it.
8-Not everyone eats their pickles.
9-Some people take the lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions, etc off and eat them first.
10-And my personal favorite–Some people add the fries directly to their sandwich in neat rows before eating.
11-I confess to dunking my French fries into my milk shake.
Obviously at a fancy resturant, there would be polishing the silverware, inspecting the glasses for water stains and how someone drapes their napkin (if at all), plus many more. Each of which could irritate your characters and add tension to the scene.