On Monday we talked about Christmas traditions, those we participated in as children and those we participate in today. Just like in real life, our characters are formed from their experiences as children and young adults. Or basically all that went in on their life before the story.
One thing we all know as writers is that we need to make our characters relatable. We need to make them believable. We need to take our readers on a journey that makes them fall in love with a character and feel like this person is real - or at least a very important part of their life for the length of the story (and hopefully for some time afterward).
We do this by giving our characters depth. By giving them a history. By giving them something to overcome.
For each story I write, I try to brainstorm just a little more or find a new technique that will help me get to know my character better. But the top three questions I ask myself about my characters are:
1. Where did they come from?
A happy home, a broken home, a religious, home, etc. This also includes their young adult or early adult years. Basically, what job and lifestyle define who they are.
2. What are a few big events that happened during these years?
I try to name at least one or two events that have made a lasting impression on my characters, as this will help shape who they are.
3. What beliefs, lies, or defining principals has my character developed because of where they came from and those big events?
This is where I establish what "lie" my character is believing as the truth. For example, my character might believe all men will leave her because her father left her mother. This is where I start my character so he/she will have room to grow.
What questions do you ask yourself about your character? Do you have any fun or unique ways to develop your character or make them more relatable to readers?
And for you readers, what makes characters most relatable to you?