I struggle sometimes with characterization, especially with voice. My characters have a tendency to sound like clones of one another, which isn’t what any author wants. Unless you’re writing about clones, which, now that I think about it, might be a good genre for me.
Sadly for everyone involved, I’m not writing about clones, and if I want anyone to buy my book someday, I have to flesh out my characters.
Everyone has their way of getting to know their characters. I would make a clever little list mentioning a few, but really, I only know my way. And it’s not really even a “way”. It’s not a three-step method or a process.
I have to know my characters. I need to know things that the reader will never see. What was their relationship with their parents like? What did they love to do as a child? What hobby do they have now that doesn’t come into the story? What is their favorite cookie?
Once I answer those questions (Especially the cookie one. It’s more important than you might think), I can begin to know them, to gauge better how they would react to a situation, what they would say, IF they would say anything at all. It gives me a jumping point from which to explore motivation and subtext and to write them in a truer form. Even if the reader never knows the details I know, the fact that I know them allows me to give depth to a character that it might not otherwise have had, and depth is part of what makes a reader love a character.
Go back and read that sentence a few times. It’s a doozy.
How do you develop your characters?