For those who missed my Monday post, I've started a series of posts on character development. I'm doing an online workshop which you can find here. There's been some really good info that's helping me get inside my protag's and antag's heads.
We recently discussed the Triangle of Personality Traits. This refers to the three sides of your character:
TRAIT ** NEED ** FLAW
Example: If your character's trait is adventurous, their need may be change, but the flaw is that your character is unreliable.
Make sense? Here's another one:
Example: If the trait is loyalty, the need may be trust, and the flaw is that your character is gullible.
It's important to know the need that drives your character, and the flaw that brings them to their darkest moment. Try brainstorming and writing these down for your main characters. It's not as easy as it may seem, unless you already know your character very well. For me, starting out a fresh new story, I had to really dig deep, but man, what a difference it's making and helping to mold my plot.
I know some writers like to just write by the seat of their pants and get to know their characters as they go. But for me, I've found I do much better knowing them before I start writing the first draft, which saves a huge headache with revisions.
Know what your character's flaw is. This flaw will be their blind spot, and the character's strongest defenses will be built around this same blind spot. What appears to be the main character's strongest trait is actually a cover for their weakest one. Most likely, your MC will be in denial of their potential blind spot and will react negatively to anyone or anything poking close to it. This denial will cause the MC to defend their blind spot (or flaw), which justifies their need.
Remember the triangle, and use it to develop all your main characters. If you don't know what the triangle of trait is for your main characters, chances are they're somewhat hollow.
BTW Weekly Spotlight will return soon. I'm knee-deep in character development for my new stories right now, and loving it. Hopefully, these posts will help you as they've helped me. Do you have anything more to add? Feel free to tell me what works (or doesn't work) for you when fleshing out your characters and breathing life into them.