I always wonder if I ever truly develop my characters. I mean, as much as they should be developed.
Oh sure, I give them names, some motivations, some quirks and traits, but do I really develop them? Is it something that should be asked the journalistic questions of who, what, when, where, and why?
- Who was their high school sweetheart?
- What was the best day of their life?
- When did they develop "X" trait?
- Where do they want to retire to?
- Why are they fascinated by ankles?
Up to this point, I've always tried an....organic...I guess you'd call it, approach. As the story developed, so did the character. They've been more reactive then set in stone. I know that a good character can drive the story or, for that matter, make you not really care so much about the story as you do the character's journey. All points to ponder.
Maybe I should come up with a checklist, of sorts, to help answer some of the "basics" of just who these characters are?
I forget which RPG (that stands for Role Playing Game...for the uninitiated) it was, I think it was "Traveller", but they had something called a "life path" where you would roll and the dice would tell you what happened at different points in the character's life. I always thought it was a royal pain, at least in terms of making a role playing character, but something like that would really be useful for coming up with story characters if you didn't feel like putting a lot of work into it.
Is something like this a "cheat" or a "tool" and does it really matter if the outcome is well rounded character?
What are some of your methods for fleshing out characters?