Marji Laine

I Love a Good Mystery!

Character Quirks


Seeing some of the hat designs from this year’s Kentucky Derby inspire me with character quirk ideas.

First is this one. Originally I thought this gal was pathetically trying to imitate the sad style of the royal cousins. (And if those girls aren’t drawn from Grimm’s Fairy Tales, I’m missing something.)

But I took a closer look. Note the spoon in the strawberry bowl. What does it tell me about her? Wealthy goes without saying. I bet she laid more cash out on that hat than most folks I know will spend on a new Easter ensemble. She has a good sense of humor. Someone wearing a fascinator like this has to  be willing to laugh at herself. I can imagine her being a free spirit. Maybe not exactly friendly, but certainly fun-loving and with enough money to support her outlandish activities. It wouldn’t be hard to develop a fictional character based on the assumptions I’ve made here. And throwing her into a situation where she’s lost everything would create an interesting scenario. 

I love this hat! So romantic. The bigger the better, right? Well, I am from Texas. If this gal was a character of mine, she probably wouldn’t be a protagonist. She’s too perfect-looking. I could see her as an antagonist, the other woman, maybe. This gal has a perfect smile and could be just as sweet as she looks. But it seems more interesting to me if she is deeply flawed. Manipulating her man to keep her status of living. Hiding her true character – controlling, vindictive – behind a sorority-girl giggle.

This hat with all the foo-foo on top is the essence of romance. And I have a feeling, with the matching dress, that romance was what the lady was shooting for.

I could picture her as a character that is pulling out all the stops to impress someone. And failing miserably at it. Maybe she’s attempting to turn the head of someone who’s all wrong for her.

Her real prince would be one who appreciates her in blue jeans and a sweat shirt with pig tails in her hair. Maybe she’s not really what she appears to be, only pretending to fit in with this crowd. It could be that her values have twisted up by a new friendship with someone looking at her as a project.

Oh no, this can’t be a real hat. Is that a Barbie Doll on top? This looks like one of those toilet paper covers that used to be popular in the 70s. Seriously.

So this gal is a friend of the pretender from Hat #3. She’s plopped this decorative pillow on her head to make fun of the American Royalty who are hatting it in Kentucky.

One last thought: why are hats such a big deal for the Derby?

Your turn: What do the ladies in these pictures say to you?

Author: Marji Laine

Marji is a recently "graduated" homeschooling mom whose twin girls have blessed her by sticking around the nest for a little longer. She spends her days directing the children’s music program at her church and working with the authors of Write Integrity Press to put out the best possible version of their books. Raised in suburban Dallas, she got her first taste of writing through the stories of brilliant authors of their day, Mignon Eberhart and Phyllis A. Whitney, and through stage experience. After directing and acting in productions for decades, Marji started writing her own scripts. From that early beginning, she delved into creating scintillating suspense with a side of Texas sassy. She invites readers to unravel their inspiration, seeking a deeper knowledge of the Lord’s Great Mystery that invites us all.

3 thoughts on “Character Quirks

  1. Why *are* hats so big at the Derby? Like Easter Parade on crack. 🙂 I think the first lady is up to no good. Her hat shields her, yet allows her to see through it without being obvious. She’s made it bizarre enough to put her in the center of attention which is where she wants to be.

    On the second, I’ll concur with your assessment.

    The third. . . she’s hidiing. I don’t think she’s on the prowl for anything. The hat’s non-descript enough to sink her into Derby obscurity. She doesn’t want to be found. Perhaps she’s not who she holds herself out to be, at the Derby because of duty, but wary because she may get caught.

    Lastly — I love this one. She’s making fun of Derby tradition. Barbie is a statement. She’s the rebel. The rich girl who ends up dating the poor stable boy because to her, the money doesn’t matter. In fact, she looks down her nose at all the pomp and presumption.


    • Oh I LOVE your assessments! I’m so tempted to write a short story about these gals! What fun! And I TOTALLY don’t get the hat thing, except that the race is a Derby. But then I don’t get the British hat thing either.