On Saturday we went to local arts and crafts fair called Celebrate Art in the Garden held at The Antique Rose Emporium. I didn't buy anything, but a few things tempted me - especially a wide array of glass suncatchers and windchimes. Live In Handyman's green thumb took control, however, and he purchased a Texas Star hibiscus:
The artisans captured most of my attention. Some sat back in the shadows of their booths not interacting with the lookers and shoppers. Some mingled and talked to everyone, telling about the objects they'd created. Some stood at the front of their booths but didn't mingle. They looked at everyone, some said hello.
I thought about how different these people were and how their overall demeanor would shape them as a character on the page.
Say you have a police officer as a character. If the officer were the type to sit back in the shadows, he would be the quiet one who listened intently to what each witness and suspect said. He would observe how they moved, understand what their body language told him.
But if your officer mingled and talked to everyone, all the while keeping an eye out for everything happening in and around her, she would be the officer who carried on with those witnesses and suspects who came away thinking they weren't on her list at all. In an earlier time period, this would be the stereotypical beat cop who knew everyone on the streets he walked every day.
What about the officer who stood in the Mr. Clean pose and glared at the witnesses and suspects? He's the off-duty cop working as the bouncer.
I chose a law enforcement officer because I write mystery and suspense. What about the characters you write? Can you see how these different personalities could apply to them?