Image via WikipediaWriters have many different ways to flesh out characters. Some pretend to interview characters about things they like and dislike. Others give their characters birth dates and look up Zodiac signs and common characteristics related to those signs.
I personally like to look at the duality of a person. This occurs when a person has a core principal but engages in an action that contradicts the core principal. It works a little like Yin and Yang. Duality in and of itself isn't a negative thing, but it can often lead to hypocrisy. Let's face it; most people have hypocritical moments every now and then — some of us more than others.
Here are a few examples of duality:
- The vegetarian who has leather seats in the car or a leather couch.
- The lung doctor who smokes a pack a day.
- The elementary school teacher who hates kids.
- The dietitian who has a fridge full of Coke.
You can add duality in just five steps:
- Pick a quality. Let's use brave.
- Convert that quality into a principal. In our example, the brave character will protect any person he sees being attacked.
- Think of the opposite quality. We'll use fear.
- Turn the opposite quality into an action. Our brave character is afraid of snakes.
- Use it in your story. You could toss this character into a situation where he sees a little girl fall into a snake pit. How will your character reconcile his principal with his duality?
What methods do you use to flesh out characters? Have you tried adding duality? What do you think about it?