#BookBlast- Natural Selection @WordDreams #PrehistoricFiction


I’m excited to have best-selling author Jacqui Murray visiting the blog today with her new release Natural Selection- book 3 in an amazing prehistoric fiction series!

Jacqui is the author of the wildly popular The Crossroads Trilogy and Dawn of Humanity series, as well as the compelling Rowe-Delamagente books along with various technology manuals. She also hosts the Worddreams blog where she helps writers, shares book reviews, and much more. You can visit her here: https://worddreams.wordpress.com/

Take it away, Jacqui…

60+ Characteristics That Make Your Character Memorable

Typically, a new story starts with a passel of players that are easily confused unless you add a stand-out trait that reminds the audience who each is. It can be physical–“a birthmark on their left cheek”, a motivation–“Her eyes lit up at the sight of a dog”, an action–“She couldn’t walk past litter without picking it up”. This then becomes a way to quickly remind the reader who this character was (“She scratched her neck, the ubiquitous litter scrap fisted in her palm”).

As I plot my story and build the life and backstory of each character, I refer to a list of traits I’ve noticed in people around me that have piqued my interest or reminded me who someone was though I only saw them a few times. Here are some:

  • Don’t name the character; simply call him/her part of a group, like Joe’s Band, or Sarah’s knitting club
  • types with one finger
  • a man who manicures his nails
  • obsessed with Princess DI–clothing, articles, pillows, etc.
  • a Bill Gates-size checkbook and Trump-like hair
  • walks ducktoed
  • watches people while he’s doing something—like he cuts his meat while watching someone finger their earring
  • a small detail that spelled trouble: the character never made it out of high school, had a juvenile record for theft, failed the psychological tests for both the Marines and the Army, hung out with the Clan
  • she was a chameleon—took on the traits of those around her
  • the hardness quotient of his heart in the neighborhood of hot Jell-O
  • dropped the last three words of a sentence to a grumble
  • Buffalo area accent
  • a whistling sound when s/he speaks a S
  • physique of an old body-building champ
  • reads two-three books a week
  • his/her leg shook whenever they sat
  • a phobia about needles, ladders, cracks in the sidewalk, or something else unusual
  • eats M&Ms or Skittles by color
  • can’t use a pen without a top
  • can’t clean his/her house unless it’s dark out
  • can’t sleep in a messy room
  • nibbles at his/her fingers when excited
  • turns every statement into a question
  • clips his nails in front of people
  • sees everyone as a color–she’s pink
  • has to have even numbers for stuff–like a password
  • can’t stand wood in his/her mouth–like chopsticks, popsicle sticks, etc.
  • calls males ‘son’, i.e., ‘Good job, son!’
  • constantly ate antacids
  • the suffering of strangers, even family, never touched him
  • whistles out of tune
  • whistles the same three lines over and over
  • very rosy cheeks–almost rosacea
  • can’t eat vanilla cake with chocolate icing
  • eats toothpaste
  • walks on his/her toes
  • rolls eyes up and to the right as s/he pontificates (or lectures, or just talks)
  • peeled back the lid of the yogurt and licked the yogurt from the top. Then placed the lid on a narrow counter, folding it into eighths.
  • licked both sides of the spoon after taking a bite of yogurt.
  • holds a golf club behind his neck with both hands
  • always has to have the office/room door closed
  • break a sandwich up into little pieces before eating it
  • can’t write with a blue pen
  • has a postcard collection
  • can’t go anywhere without a bottle of water
  • must eat lunch at exactly 11:30 (or noon, or whatever hour works for your novel)
  • smells the food before eating
  • moves her lips when reading
  • stuck his tongue out while he worked 
  • yellowed teeth
  • forgets names for common items, ie, Jacuzzi, bread box
  • -sh comes out as an –s, like ‘should’ or ‘washing’.
  • flemy voice
  • nibbled at a fingernail
  • always sang when she was happy.
  • scratches himself as he talks; constantly or intermittently
  • empties the toaster crumbs every morning;
  • cleans the cutting wheel on the electric can opener once a week because it’s “the dirtiest quarter inch in your kitchen”
  • tugs at one sleeve because that arm is slightly longer than the other;
  • telephones her son to remind him again how difficult his birth was for her
  • stands on tiptoes in family photos to appear taller
  • vacuums the attic
  • tips of her ears turn scarlet when she’s mad
  • rubbing his fingers against each other
  • sees patterns in everything

What do you use to bring a character back into your reader’s memory?

Title and author: Natural Selection by Jacqui Murray

Series: Book 3 in the Dawn of Humanity series

Genre: Prehistoric fiction

Editor: Anneli Purchase

Available print or digital) at: http://a-fwd.com/asin=B0B9KPM5BW

In this conclusion to Lucy’s journey, she and her tribe leave their good home to rescue former-tribemembers captured by the enemy. Lucy’s tribe includes a mix of species–a Canis, a Homotherium, and different iterations of early man. In this book, more join and some die, but that is the nature of prehistoric life, where survival depends on a combination of our developing intellect and our inexhaustible will to live. Each species brings unique skills to this task. Based on true events.

Set 1.8 million years ago in Africa, Lucy and her tribe struggle against the harsh reality of a world ruled by nature, where predators stalk them and a violent new species of man threatens to destroy their world. Only by changing can they prevail. If you ever wondered how earliest man survived but couldn’t get through the academic discussions, this book is for you. Prepare to see this violent and beautiful world in a way you never imagined.

A perfect book for fans of Jean Auel and the Gears!

My Review of Natural Selection

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Lucy is back!

Lucy and her new eclectic tribe are on a search for her former tribemates, captured and in danger by Man-Who-Preys.

Faced with a harsh environment, deadly creatures, and warring tribes, Lucy finds an inner core of strength and determination to keep her pack safe while dealing with increasingly painful headaches. Along the way, she learns new methods of communication from a half-blind boy-man she knew as a child. The skills each brings to the group are crucial. They must all work together to defeat their enemies or perish.

The research into edible and healing plants, topography, prey, grooming, and natural disasters adds realism to this prehistoric series, making it unputdownable.

Well done, Ms. Murray!

Author bio:

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular prehistoric fiction saga, Man vs. Nature which explores seminal events in man’s evolution one trilogy at a time. She is also author of the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers and Building a Midshipman , the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. Her non-fiction includes over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, reviews as an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics.

Social Media contacts:

Amazon Author Page:         https://www.amazon.com/Jacqui-Murray/e/B002E78CQQ/

Blog:                                       https://worddreams.wordpress.com

Instagram:                             https://www.instagram.com/jacquimurraywriter/

Pinterest:                                http://pinterest.com/askatechteacher

Twitter:                                    http://twitter.com/worddreams

Website:                                 https://jacquimurray.net

78 Comments Add yours

    1. Thanks for the share, my friend. Have a wonderful weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Thank you so much for dropping by.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for the information, Jaqui! Enjoy your weekend! xx Michael

        Liked by 2 people

  1. Wow, i love also the introduction to the way of creating these novels. It sounds like a great sequel. Thanks for the presentation and the lovely review, Jacquie! Best wishes, Michael

    Liked by 2 people

    1. This is an amazing series, Michael. Jacqui opened my eyes to prehistoric culture.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Staci Troilo says:

    That’s an excellent list. (And I’m horrified to realize some of it could apply to me!) Best wishes on the book and series, Jacqui.

    Jacquie, thanks for hosting.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Lol, that’s what I thought, but I’m not admitting which ones 😂

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I collected these from my reading–traits that made the fictional characters in the books stand out in memory to me.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Staci Troilo says:

        I like giving my characters quirks, too.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Great list! It’s lovely to see Jacqui and her series getting so much love around the web. Wishing her all the best. Thanks for sharing, Jacquie. Have a wonderful weekend. Hugs 💕🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. There are a few traits on there that I’m guilty of doing, lol.
      Thanks, Harmony. Happy weekend to you, too!

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Thank you, Harmony. I am thrilled anytime I can talk about prehistoric fiction and my book. It’s a topic that never gets old for me.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. GP says:

    I’ve always admired Jacqui. Readers should truly enjoy this series.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. The research she does for her books is truly impressive.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank you, GP. Lucy is pre-war (before when our kind fought each other), but my next group–Neanderthals–I haven’t figured out yet. I may have to include so fight tactics in the next series!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow! Leave it to Jacqui to create such an extensive list of character traits. I was looking for the Red Bull! 🙂 Thanks for hosting today, Jacquie. The Dawn of Humanity series is fantastic!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Lol, Red Bull is a good one, Jill. My daughter’s best friend is an avid fan of RB. She buys it by the case!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Actually, something like ‘Red Bull’–a food/drink unique to the character–should be on the list. Thanks for visiting, Jill!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. The list is fascinating and reminds me to pay attention to my characterizations in the future. Best wishes on your latest, Jacqui. Thanks to Jacquie for hosting.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I could picture the person behind a few of those gestures, like the golf club guy 😊

      Liked by 3 people

    2. Anything that helps readers remember who a character is–that goes on the list. Thanks for visiting, John!

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Kymber Hawke says:

    That is such a cool list of character traits!! I can’t wait to finish the Dawn of Humanity books!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. It’s fun to assign odd traits to characters. I think readers like unusual people in their books. Thanks for reading the series!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Kymber Hawke says:

        I’d like to start reviewing books on my site because there are so many, yours included that I really love. I keep putting it off, but hopefully, it will happen in the near future.

        And, I agree with you about how readers like odd traits in their characters. It’s given me a lot to think about, and I thank you for that.

        Liked by 2 people

    2. They’re so good, Kymber. Imagine them as a Netflix series!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Kymber Hawke says:

        Oh yes, I would definitely watch that! 😀

        Liked by 2 people

  8. Great to see you here at Jacquie’s, Jacqui. And I love the list of traits. I try to add memorable traits to my characters as I build their profiles and you have a few in there that sparked some new ideas. They really do reinforce a sense of character and make them distinct. Great post and it’s fun seeing Lucy get some more attention! Thanks for hosting, Jacquie. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I love finding real people with traits that stand out. I may not remember their name, but I grin thinking of their uniqueness.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. My youngest brother has the leg twitch thing and I NEVER use a blue-inked pen! lol. It’s interesting how many of these spark recognition. I can see how it would work for our characters, as well.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Absolutely! Now I’ll be looking for characters in your books who refuse to use blue ink or have twitches. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  9. Jan Sikes says:

    It’s great to see the other Jacqui here today. 🙂 This is a most interesting list of characteristics options. Congrats to Jacqui on completing this trilogy. Thank you for hosting, Jacquie!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. They’re unusual, aren’t they. Of course, more ordinary traits would also qualify–a pony tail with a ribbon around it or always wore a Red Sox hat.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. I’m definitely going to incorporate some of these into future books!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. HI Jacquie and Jacqui, what a comprehensive list of descriptive mannerisms and characteristics. An entertaining post.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Fun, innit? I collected these traits over a period of a few years from my reading. It’s amazing the difference it makes to have something memorable to remind you of a character.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes, like Hercule Poirot and his fancy moustaches.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I was surprised how many pertained to people I know! lol

      Liked by 2 people

  11. balroop2013 says:

    What a lovely post! Thanks for sharing that list of traits for creating unforgettable characters! You are so good at it Jacqui. Wishing you great success with the tour.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I take no credit for these characteristics. Some great authors provided them in their stories. I had a few odd ones in my early thrillers–like a character who ate instant coffee granules. That’s weird, don’t you think?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Better than espresso? lol

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Once I started reading her list, I realized how true it is. We do recognize people by their quirks 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  12. D.L. Finn, Author says:

    What a great list! I thought i was the only one who collected post cards 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I personally know no one who collects post cards, which makes it a great characteristic. Interesting hobby!

      Liked by 2 people

    2. What a great way to recall all the fabulous places you’ve visited1

      Liked by 2 people

  13. petespringerauthor says:

    What an impressive list of unique traits! These things help us remember a character—especially in books like Jacqui’s that are packed with characters.

    I recently finished Natural Selection and have the pleasure of having Jacqui on my blog next week. Great job, Jacquie Biggar!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Isn’t it a great series? I gained a new understanding of our ancestors lives thanks to Jacqui’s insightful novels.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. I’m looking forward to it, Pete. You have a great group over there.

      Liked by 2 people

  14. Excellent point, Jacqui. Thanks for the post.
    ‘Lo, Jacquie:) Thanks for hosting our author and friend:)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Lol, one of my customers back home used to call my Jake, if that helps 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I’m glad you liked it, Sandra. There are clever ways to remind readers of who our characters are.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Mae Clair says:

    What an outstanding list of traits, Jacqui. I love it!
    I’ve added a few unusual traits to the MC in my current WIP to make him memorable.

    Congratulations on the great review from Jacquie. Your latest is making a huge splash in the blogosphere.

    Great spotlight hosting Jacquie today, Jacquie! 😆

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ooh, now you have me curious, Ms. Mae!

      Liked by 2 people

    2. I’m glad you like it, Mae. And I’m thrilled with the review from Jacquie. That makes my weekend!

      Liked by 2 people

  16. Another great stop on the tour Jacquie!
    What great energy you brought presenting her newest book!!
    ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

    1. She’s so talented!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. She really is! Like you are ! ❣️

        Liked by 1 person

  17. If I hadn’t already read it, that trailer would have had me racing to pick up a copy.
    Wishing both of you lovely ladies a fun, creative weekend.
    Hugs

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you! I had fun making that trailer.

      Like

    2. I love book trailers. They give an insight into the author’s view of the story you might not get otherwise.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. That’s a great list of traits you’ve compiled, Jacqui. I need to work on that with my own WIPs.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Something like this makes it easier for readers to remember the characters, don’t you think?

      Liked by 2 people

    2. I see a few I’m going to incorporate soon 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  19. Toni Pike says:

    What a fantastic review, Jacquie – congratulations to Jacqui and I loved her fantastic advice on characters. Toni x

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Toni! I always seem to have a lot of characters in my books so I’ve found it useful to have some bit that makes them stand out. Glad you like it.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I could take some lessons on Jacqui’s attention to detail!

      Liked by 2 people

  20. Annika Perry says:

    Jacquie, a great and enthusiastic review! It’s lovely you’re part of Jacqui’s promotion of her latest book! Lucy is popular!

    Jacqui, congratulations on your latest release! It is wonderful to see you around on WP and the warm reception from everyone! I loved your list of characteristics here and smiling at some of the quirky ones! I really need someone to vacuum my attic! I think it is so important to paint an image of a person quickly and with as few words as possible – these are all terrific ideas – and you know how I like lists!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Agreed! Can you ever unforget the image of a character vacuuming the attic. How do you even get a vacuum up there?

      Liked by 2 people

    2. It would be fun to create a story by choosing one of these quirky characteristics 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Annika Perry says:

        An opportunity to let the imagination run riot! 😀 I’ve worked out a way to get the hoover up the loft! 😀

        Liked by 2 people

        1. I’m not even going to ask!

          Liked by 2 people

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