Building Character

My son played soccer this weekend. Not really an uncommon event but it was interesting game. I was particularly interested in how the boys interacted. They sport builds character.

One boy has a habit of stealing the ball away from his own team members. Not really a nice trait in a player but I don’t think he means it. His focus is totally on the ball and the other kids seem to let it slide.

Another child, a frequent goal scorer, I heard him mutter “too easy” when he scored his third goal of the match. Yeah, I agree, his reaction is slightly scary but I’m hoping he’ll grow out of it. He’s a really sweet kid.

My son is not a consistent player and is easily distracted. Yet yesterday he was on fire, his best game of the year, but unfortunately the last of the season. He scored! And his reaction – the biggest, brightest smile I’ve ever seen on his face. Plus two thumbs up!

What I’ve been thinking about is how differently the boys react. How far will the traits they have now change as they age? What type of partner will grow to love them?

I know, at age seven, I might be getting a bit ahead of myself, but when we develop characters to write about, the experiences of childhood affect how they react to situations too.

How far back into your characters past do you imagine when crafting your story?

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4 thoughts on “Building Character”

  1. I myself, research my characters entire life. You’re absolutely right, everything affects a character’s life and choices, especially thier childhoods!

    Great Blog Heather, enjoyed it. You gotta love the things kids will do lol, or otherwise you’ll end up jerking a knot in thier heads. =)

  2. I am a pantser by nature, so I often have no idea what my characters are going to do until they do it. But I do know my characters very well because I know their history, what events shaped who they are. I mock up family trees and know who their grandparents were. I know how their birth order affected them, and what their motivating factor in life is. We take so much with us into our adulthood lives, it’s only natural to believe that our characters would do the same.

  3. I don’t write a childhood for my characters. However, when they are being developed and I determine where they fall in the family 1st born vs baby or somewhere in the middle, I mentally give them characteristics and traits.

  4. Hi Heather! Great blog. I usually plan out most of my character’s life, even though most of it never makes it into the book. It helps me to better understand what motivates them and their weaknesses

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