Ever received one of those emails that asks a ton of questions like steak or potatoes, first pet and favourite TV show? Filling one of those out as your characters is a great way to really get to know them. It allows you to really get into their history and feelings. As an author, knowing your character’s favourite colour is red is important. It says a lot about them. But does the reader need to know it? Well probably not.
The important thing is to add emotions to the mix.Her last step heading for the interview, was to reach for her red jacket. The colour was her favourite and even if it didn’t really compliment her dark looks, it did bolster her confidence and she needed all the confidence bolstering she could get.
So we learn that she gets her confidence, not from how she looks, but from having things she likes close. The jacket is a talisman not an accessory.
Adding emotions has its own problems. What if the reader really thinks appearance is important, especially for interviews? Will they keep reading or write the character off?
Here, I doubt the impact is that great but for other issues, like saying a quick prayer, kicking a dog away or swearing at a child, those will give very strong reactions. You might want the reader to hate or love this character. Subliminal clues help in this regard, but different people have different reactions. Don’t assume that they way you think is the way they do.
What is something that really turns you off characters?