Have you ever read a book and thought the lead character was two-dimensional? Or flat? Or wish they had something more to them? I think we've all been there a time or two. I think part of this is based on the reader, but the author has to give something to the reader to attach to, something they can relate too.
The big question: So how do you do develop a character a reader can latch on to?
A couple of things I do:
- I think about their physical attributes first - short, tall, green eyes, athletic, limp, popped hip when he/she stands, pert nose, bushy eyebrows, brown hair, highlights, shaggy, long.
- I visualize them. I close my eyes and I see if everything that I have picked for my character works. - Do I like the shaggy hair? If her hip is popped, she's snotty - does that work? All my characters are tall - I want him to be short. But at this point - I have the image. The character exists.
- But characters don't just "look" and become awesome. Third step - "Big Personality Trait" - Hip is still popped - so she's got some attitude. He's short - little man syndrome. Book nerd/rebel without a cause/ closet comicon/depressed and suicidal.
- Crap - I'm real and I'm not only defined by my English nerdy-ness. Fourth step "Small Personality Traits". I like this part because this is where (I believe) you find the stuff you attach too. For example: Rose from the The Vampire Academies - Bad Ass - "Big Personality Trait" (awesomeness) die to keep a promise, loves her family, will follow her heart, believes in her future - "Small Personality Traits". These are the things a person routes for.
- Finishing touches - catch phrases - "Laters, Baby" mannerisms - hands through the hair when your frustrated, clothes, and pet peeves. - Not limited to these by any means - just examples.