Check out my guest post on Harry Potter for Writers!
Now, I have a question for you. Do you always behave the same? Are you the same person when you are home lounging around on your own as when you're out on a date or at a company party? Are you the same person around your friends on a Saturday night as with your kids? I doubt it.
Neither is your MC.
Staying true to character is vital to a successful book. Sure your character can surprise you and the reader, but always within the confines of who they are. And they, like us, become different people based on who they are with. Do you have romance in your story? Well if you do, and most of us do to some level, you have to be aware that when your two characters collide they become something new.
The wonderful Sarah Fine had a post on the space between characters. To me this is what that means. I studied social psych for a bit, and it is fascinating the way people will change depending on who they are with and what they are doing.
So how do we USE this info in our writing?
- Compare scenes. Take a scene where your MC is alone and compare it to one where she is with her love interest. What is her behavior like? Is it different? Have her goals changed at all? Her approach to those goals?
- Relate those differences to the overarching character arc. What changes in your MC by the end of the story? Are those qualities effected by her interaction with others? How so? Perhaps they prompt a positive change. OR perhaps they make it that much more difficult for your MC. Remember - you can't protect her, you have to let her suffer.
- It's a great way to show depth. You want to SHOW (not talk about) different sides to your character. Putting her in varied situations with different people or on her own can accomplish this.
What are some other ways this can alter your writing? Good or bad?