How do you create a realistic character? There are a number of things to keep in mind:
- Think about the character's childhood. What kind of family did they grow up in? That will have a large impact on the character as an adult. Family and environment, as well as school and other social experiences, play into a character's personality. Was there abuse? Bullying? Did they always get their way? Were they expected to care for younger siblings? Did they have no responsibilities at all? While you don't need to include all of this information in the story, it's important to keep it in mind, as these things shape the character.
- Next, consider relationships. Is the character an extrovert or an introvert? Do they have a few close friends, or a large circle of acquaintances?
- What does your character do for a living? While this may not be a key point in the story, knowing this information makes it easier for the reader to connect with the character. It is also important to keep this in mind so that you do not stereotype your character, unless that is your intent. Do they like their job, or are they always looking for something else? Are they liked by their coworkers? Are they recognized for their achievements, or do they just slide along? Are they a workaholic?
- What do they do outside of work? What are their hobbies? Do they like to travel? Participate in an activity on a regular basis? Do they live a life totally separate from their daytime persona?
- Are they optimistic or pessimistic? Serious or a clown? Are they religious? Political? Outspoken? Shy?
- What are their goals and dreams? Do they have any nervous habits? Superstitions? Strengths? Weaknesses?
- Choose a name that fits the personality that you have created. A name such as "Bruiser" will bring certain images to mine for the reader. If those visuals do not match your intentions, consider a different name.
There are many things to consider, as you want your character to jump off the page at your reader. However, all of these items are important in creating a realistic character that readers will be able to connect with, root for, and love (or love to hate).