How to Be a Quirky Writer

Three Parts:Adding Quirks to Your Writing StyleWriting About Unique Subject MatterUsing Language in Quirky Ways

Maybe you are an aspiring writer who wants to write stories that are a little quirky or strange. Or, perhaps you are established writer who has hit a creative rut and feels their writing is too familiar or generic. Adding a quirky element to your writing can expand your creativity and improve your prose. You can become a more unique writer by developing your own quirky writing style and by striving to write about unique subject matter. You should also use language in quirky ways so your writing stands out on the page.

Part 1
Adding Quirks to Your Writing Style

  1. Image titled Be a Quirky Writer Step 1
    Evaluate your writing style. Your writing style comes from your mastery of voice and tone. Your writing voice is the authorial personality you assume in your writing. You may use different writing voices depending on the type of story you are writing. Or, you may maintain the same writing style throughout all of your writing.[1]
    • You may also use a certain tone in all your writing, using specific word choice, sentence structure, and grammar. Or, you may vary your tone based on the character you are inhabiting or the type of story you are writing.
    • You should have a good sense of your own writing style before you try to add quirks to it, as you should have a strong foundation in place. You may realize that your existing writing style is starting to feel stale or too familiar and be seeking ways to jazz it up.
  2. Image titled Be a Quirky Writer Step 2
    Write for the quirky reader. You are often told in writing classes to write for your ideal reader, focusing on reaching one particular person rather than a big group of people. You can add quirks to your writing by focusing instead on a quirky reader. This reader may be more interested in strange, weird details and a unique writing voice.[2]
    • Often the quirky reader will be more interested in stories with strange or weird characters and stories that discuss unfamiliar or uncommon subject matter. A quirky reader may be more adventurous than the average reader and more open to writing about the strange or weird side of life.
    • For example, maybe you often write with an ideal reader in mind who is interested in pleasant, easy to read stories. You may then shift your focus to a quirky reader who is more into strange descriptions, an ominous tone, and a weird setting. Picture what this quirky reader might be interested in reading and write with them in mind.
  3. Image titled Be a Quirky Writer Step 3
    Break a writing rule. You can push your writing to feel more quirky and unexpected by breaking a writing rule you have always respected or upheld. We all have writing rules that we always follow. Breaking one of your writing rules could encourage you to embrace the unexpected and not get stuck in your own little writing box.[3]
    • This might be a common writing rule like “show, don’t tell” or “never open a story by discussing the weather”. You may then challenge yourself to break this rule and do so effectively. It may take time to break the rule with positive results. But it could push you to embrace a more quirky writing style.
    • There are several known “rules of writing” lists that have been made by popular writers, including Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules for Good Writing and Stephen King’s Top 20 Rules for Writers. You may choose one of their rules and attempt to break it in a way that makes your story stronger and more unique.
  4. Image titled Be a Quirky Writer Step 4
    Try writing like you talk. You can also add variety and interest to your writing style by trying to write like you talk. Often, we tend to put on a writerly voice or a voice that we think all writing must emulate. But writing like you speak to your friends, your partner, or your family members can give your writing style a unique spin and sound.[4]
    • You may notice that you use words that are in another language or that are part of a slang when you speak to your friends. Rather than edit these words out of your writing, you may include them in your story to give your writing voice a personality and unique sound.
    • For example, if you speak Spanish when you are talking to your family members or a combination of Spanish and English (Spanglish), you may include this in your writing. Maybe there are Spanish terms and English terms side by side in your story or in the voice of a character based on you.
  5. Image titled Be a Quirky Writer Step 5
    Study the writing style of quirky writers. You can also learn how to be more quirky in your writing by reading writers who are known for their unique writing voice and style. Many of these writers took big risks with their writing by using a writing style that was outside of the norm or the mainstream. Several quirky writers to read include:
    • Chuck Palahniuk: Read his short story “Cannibal.”[5]
    • Cormac McCarthy: Read his novels The Road and No Country For Old Men.
    • Junot Diaz: Read his short story “The Cheater’s Guide to Love.”[6]
    • Mary Gaitskill: Read her short story “The Other Place.”[7]
    • Octavia Butler: Read her short story “Bloodchild.”[8]

Part 2
Writing About Unique Subject Matter

  1. Image titled Be a Quirky Writer Step 6
    Describe a quirky real life experience. Draw on a real life experience that felt strange, unsettling, and distinct. Then, use this experience as the basis for a story or a written piece. Leaning on your own quirky experiences can push you to explore different subject matter and focus on content that you usually would not write about.[9]
    • For example, you may remember a strange experience where you kept getting phone calls meant for someone who had your number before you did. You may then write about the experience of answering calls meant for someone else and the strange conversations you had with strangers over the phone.
  2. Image titled Be a Quirky Writer Step 7
    Write about a hidden or forgotten historical event. You can also tap into history and focus on an historical event that has been forgotten or hidden in contemporary writing. You may need to do some research to find an historical event or a group of people in history who have been underrepresented or ignored in the writing world. You could then explore this history in your own writing to make your work stand out.[10]
    • For example, you may write about a forgotten historical event like the plight of Japanese villagers on a small island in the Pacific. Or you may look into your own family history and write about an event that was kept hidden or secret from you as a child.
  3. Image titled Be a Quirky Writer Step 8
    Create characters with unique traits. The characters in your stories can also be more quirky and unique if you imbue them with strange characteristics. Give your character traits that are a little off or that feel unique. You can then explore the perspective of your quirky characters more fully in your stories.[11]
    • For example, you might have a main character who has an obsession with Elvis and collects Elvis memorabilia. You could then explore this character trait further in your story, focusing on the quirks of your main character.
  4. Image titled Be a Quirky Writer Step 9
    Put a different spin on an existing folktale or legend. You may also be able to find inspiration for a quirky story by putting a unique spin on a folktale or legend that already exists. You may flip around the gender roles in a well known folktale or rewrite a well known legend from a minor character’s perspective in the story. Twisting around an existing tale can help you create a story that feels new and familiar at the same time.[12][13]
    • For example, you may try to write the legend of Hercules from the point of view of the Three Fates. Or maybe you try to imagine what the folktale of Little Red Riding Hood might be like from the perspective of the hungry wolf.

Part 3
Using Language in Quirky Ways

  1. Image titled Be a Quirky Writer Step 10
    Avoid cliche and familiarity. You can make the language in your writing feel more unique and unexpected by avoiding cliches. Cliches are phrases that have become so familiar they lose their meaning and impact. You should strive to banish familiar terms and phrases from your writing so it feels special and unfamiliar to your reader.[14]
    • For example, you may notice you tend to use the same familiar cliches to describe the weather, such as “streams of light in the sky” or “the warm glow of the sun.” You may then try to make these phrases less familiar or come up with less cliche phrases for the weather in your writing, such as “ribbons of golden pink hung in the air” or “the searing globe in the sky.”
  2. Image titled Be a Quirky Writer Step 11
    Use literary devices. You can also imbue your language with quirks by using literary devices. Literary devices can make your writing stronger overall and make a big impact on your reader. Try to integrate them into every kind of writing you do, from prose writing to poetry to essay writing.[15]
    • You may use literary devices like metaphor and simile in your writing, though you should always try to create metaphors and similes that are not cliche or familiar. For example, you may describe a character with a metaphor like "she was a woman trapped in the wrong forest," or with a simile like, "she was as lost as an animal in a zoo."
    • You can also include juxtapositions, oxymorons, and paradox in your writing, especially when you are developing your characters and your plot. For example, you may use the contrast of two images or feelings in a juxtaposition, such as "she was having the worst time at the party and he was having the time of his life."
  3. Image titled Be a Quirky Writer Step 12
    Include strange, sensory details. You want to immerse your reader in a world that feels unfamiliar and strange. You can do this by including details that activate all five senses, from sight to touch to feel to sound to smell. Make your sensory details a little strange or off so they feel unexpected to your reader.[16]
    • For example, you may describe the experience of waking up using strange, sensory detail. You may describe the sheets as “soft waves of satin” and your pillow as “a hill to place my head on.”
  4. Image titled Be a Quirky Writer Step 13
    Have a unique take on grammar and punctuation. You can make your language use seem more unique in your writing by playing around with grammar and punctuation. Many writers with quirky writing styles do this as a way to make a character voice more unique.
    • You may include certain speech ticks or slangs in your character’s dialogue. For example, maybe your character has a lisp and their dialogue in your story reflects their inability to pronounce certain words or terms.
    • You may also have the text reflect the mindset of a certain character, such as having no punctuation for a character who is thinking in a stream of consciousness or unique grammar for a character who is having a mental breakdown.

Article Info

Categories: Writing