Whenever I start a new project, I do my best to get inside the main character. You need to really know them, to crawl inside their brains and heart and guts and cockles and sub-cockles until you feel their DESIRES, FLAWS, AND VIRTUES. If you have an undeveloped, unbelievable character, you’ll have an undeveloped, unbelievable story.
Here’s a worksheet that I give to the aspiring writers that I coach. I hope that it helps you as well. It consists of basic information, deeper details, and then a “what would they do” section. Use it, love it, know it.
You can see this at work in my short stories and my novels The Watchmage of Old New York and Song of Simon. Both are getting stellar reviews, and I believe that it’s partially because of character depth.
Get to Know Your Characters
A Little Deeper
Prominent Personality Traits
What Makes them Happy?
Most Embarrassing Moment
What Would Your Character Do If…
They got an awful haircut?
Saw a turtle trying to cross the road?
Found of that their friend was talking behind their back?
Got cut in line at the store?
Found a wallet of someone that they hated?
Someone tried to start a conversation in an elevator?
Only had 24 hours to live?
Received a lottery ticket as a gift and it won $100,000?
Was given three wishes?
A family member came to them for help hiding a major crime?
Lost a beloved possession?