"That Chester was quite a character at the office party. Get a few drinks into him and you don't know what he'll get at."
"Nana Pat can really spin a yarn. She must have been quite a character, back in the day!"
I could go on, but I think you get the idea. I'm not talking about the protagonist, antagonist or some minor character that gets his brain eaten by a horde of rampaging zombies in your horror story. Nor am I referring to a foreign symbol you may see spray painted on the side of the grocery where you do your shopping.
I can't quite put a definition to the word. A former Lebanese co-worker of mine noted that the English language is very difficult to learn. One word can have so many meanings. The best definition I can arrive at for the word character is 'A person who stands out against what one perceives as the norm of society.' In the old days they may have been called: an odd duck, a bit queer, a rogue or a scallywag or perhaps the eccentric old lady living alone in the Victorian mansion with 40 stray cats.
The St. John's paper referred to the blog of a local photographer who, in his spare time, took photos [with permission, of course] of characters who frequent the downtown streets of our city. The only criticism of the journalist was that the blogger/photographer didn't update their blog very often. That is true as their are 11 folks listed there over the 13 month period of time the blog has been active. You can see the photos and descriptions of the characters here. Drop by and see a few colourful folks that inhabit this old city. Perhaps they will brighten your day or become a character in your next short story. I suppose in our own ways we are all 'characters' with our own stories to tell.