As you write, keep in mind that your characters are people. They’re shaped by their experiences, just like we are. None of us popped out of a mold as we are today. And that shaping is a big part of who we are, what we believe, what we do, who we befriend, where we live, what we eat, who we trust or mistrust, what movies we prefer, and on and on.
To make your characters come alive on the page, you need to think of them as real people, shaped by their lives and their experiences.
If you accept that we are indeed shaped by our past and our experiences, then it holds that our surroundings, beliefs, friends, jobs, homes, and other things in our lives reflect those pasts and experiences.
And if you accept that your characters are people, then it holds true that the things you show about them in the book - their cars, jobs, friends, callings, propensity to get into trouble, mysteries, romances, and so on - are reflections of them.
So, rather than plunk your protagonist in a Mercedes, you have to stop and ask, would she drive such a car? Instead of putting a Monet on your antagonist’s wall, you should ask, would he even be an art enthusiast, or what kind of art would this psycho have on her living room wall to hide her safe filled with stolen money?
Look around your own office or bedroom or kitchen. Do the things there reflect you? Here’s a mermaid I have in my office. This was a present from a close friend, Terri Schexnayder. It was my first mermaid. I’ve since added two more. It clearly reflects my own past experience. Think of your protagonist. What most reflects her personality or problem? Have you included that in the book?
4 months ago