My husband is excellent at finding characters acting “out of character” in fiction. His main complaint about books is that authors write characters and then they don’t stay true to character. I think the reason he is so great at finding these discrepancies is that he not only has a BA in, but also a talent for—psychology.
This had led me to believe that writers must also be armchair psychologists. We all hear we need to know our characters motivations, but that could mean a million things.
Here are 10* questions that should help. You need to be able to answer these questions to have a well fleshed out character:
- What is their background? How does it affect their actions today?
- What is the defining moment in their life?
- What do they want most?
- What will they do to get it?
- What is something they assume to be true that is not?
- What do people believe about them that is false?
- What are their talents? How did they develop them?
- What are their flaws? How did they develop them?
- What is their main goal?
- How do they go against stereotype?
If you can answer all of these you are well on your way. If not take a deeper look. The answers could help and even drive your plot—especially #4.