Happy Thursday everyone!
Today’s post is a continuation of “The Perfect Character” blog series. In this post we’ll focus on the character’s habits, traits, and hobbies.
In my previous post in this series I talked about your character’s appearance and how it contributes to their personality.
Hobbies and habits just about have the same effect, but on a deeper level. It gives your characters more depth. However, it is very easy to go cliche on this one.
Let me give you a scene.
*She’s a super preppy girl, with a fashion sense that would please any runway, and loads of money. What’s her hobby? Shopping.*
While it’s totally okay to have a character like this, to make it less of a cliche add more things about her….
Like: *She’s an adrenaline junkie, and uses her family’s private plane almost every weekend to skydive. On the days when she’s not in the air you can usually find her in the mall, stalking discounts and unique finds.*
If I read another book that has a preppy girl who’s portrayed as a catty villain and always seems to appear in the mall, I may scream.
But, let’s move past hobbies before I go into a rant.
So, traits. The only thing I can compare this to is the video game that I play. In the game “The Sims 4” an adult sim has up to 3 traits. These traits range from music lover, to genius, to slob. There are endless combinations of different characteristics, and my point to this is that there are three traits. Not just one trait. Three. Most characters, especially the side characters, have one trait that really isn’t even addressed in the book.
In that case, my challenge to you is to give your characters, even the side characters, at least two to three traits. They don’t have to be life-changing, and if it doesn’t make sense to randomly say “Paul is a kleptomaniac” in your novel, don’t.
I think as writers we sometimes forget how complex people are. Their personalities are important. Their small minute details are important. Why? Well, our minute details are important to us. For example, one of my small habits is to push my hair behind my ear every few minutes.
Would I think to mention it when I’m writing? Probably not. But, if I did it would make me appear more realistic to readers. If they identified with this habit, then they’d probably be more interested in continuing to read about this character.
See what I mean??