I’ve been listening to my first Raymond Chandler novel, The Big Sleep, and it’s a lot better written and a lot less sexist than I’d expected.
What has stood out to me so far is how good he is at quickly putting a clear picture of a new character in your head. All of the many characters are memorable because they each have very distinct ways of behaving and speaking.
The most striking for me, was one woman who would bite on her handkerchief when nervous. It only happened a couple times in the book, but it stood out to me as something very human. In one scene she’s sitting in a car with Marlowe, in the dark and rain, and I can’t even remember what they were talking about, something stressful though. It’s silent and she’s staring ahead at the rainy windshield, thinking, and biting on her handkerchief, pulling on it and making little tears in the cloth.
There are other examples, but that was my favorite. I am going to try to use this strategy on my own characters, and give each a little quirk, and a certain thing they like to say… it could end up being really fun 🙂