One of the main issues I have with characterisation is that my characters, more often than not, end up feeling like pieces moved as the plot demands and not much else. Sure, they have likes and dislikes, personality types, etc., but there’s something that’s still not quite there.
A friend of mine has characters that could, quite possibly, walk straight off the page (or computer screen) and into reality as a fully-formed person. That is precisely what I’m aiming for.
I was thinking about this today when the obvious hit me. We all have our own little character quirks. When I’m feeling down about myself, I’ll usually be patting my (somewhat hefty) stomach. A lot of how I view myself is in my looks and what I can fit into, and it subconsciously slips into my actions when I’m feeling down on myself about anything at all.
So, I’ve added a quirk to my main character, Serah. When she doesn’t like who she is (which happens quite a bit!), she’ll start playing with her hair. This is linked to her hair – the colour, anyway – being a big factor in her self-identity.
It’s only a small thing, but I think quirks and subconscious actions are a huge part of being human, whether we realise it or not. And therefore, it’s another step towards making our characters more human, too.
What do you think? Do you use any other tricks to make your characters more human?