How well do you know your characters? You’ve researched, made sketches, know their background, size, color of hair and eyes. What happens when conflicts arise? Are you certain how your characters will react?
Look at your story and see if your characters have permission for strange behavior. Our characters must surprise and even shock the reader. We want the reader to fall in love with the story, the scenes, and our hero or heroine (protagonist or antagonist). Your characters must show emotion, an unbelievable other side, and get ‘out of character.’
A minor character becomes forceful or hateful toward the main character. If this action is full blown, the female character takes revenge, not at all like her. Or the male character plans a way to get rid of the other person. Or what about a character who thinks she must be prim and proper at all times, and a guy who must be perceived as a gentleman at all cost. Boring. Boring. Boring.
Think about your actions during the day or a few days. Everything rolls around on an even keel until a stressful situation turns your world upside down. You do things ‘out side of your box’ to get back to normal. Take a good look at your characters. How would they react?
Enter conflict. This can be between two characters or one character arguing with his or her conscious. What great behavior antics you can create? Then, the female character hears a certain song or remembers a specific time from long ago. This is something none of her friends know; her other side. From a male character, he may have a past hidden in the sealed files of a court. Each of these characters have issues from the past and surprise the reader. Now, you have emotional involvement with the characters. Next, you need to show reasons for her or his behavior. Do not tell. Show with fear, secrets, choices, motivation, and be in dialogue with them. Let your characters be real to you, the writer, and to your reader.
Surprise your reader and your characters will keep them reading. AND, let me hear about some of your character happenings, ‘outside the box.’