While it’s all good to have goals for the character, it’s hard to express how that character goes after those goals if you don’t know what type of person – what personality traits – that character has.
For example, if Kate is a shrew, that is short tempered and bitter, she’d see things differently than if she were a happy-go-lucky girl.
There are lots of websites and books out there about character traits, including archetypes. There are other ways of getting to know your characters. One is the interview. Laurie S. Campbell has some good tips about that:
Laurie also has some good information about the psychology of a character at
Psychology workshop.
Some people us astrology – but you’d have to get a really good astrology book for a full description. The vague language you get from a magazine or some websites don’t seem like they’d be enough to cover your character’s personality. I haven’t tried it, but maybe I should.
Another thing about character personality, is that it defines their perspective. Or maybe their perspective defines their personality. I have a book about how people think which could tell me but my brain is just not up to pulling that information out right now.
Anyway, filters. Everyone has a filter. If you see a man with a scraggly beard and tattoos, you might think that he rides a motorcycle. Or he’s in his early to mid-20s, especially if he has a ball cap on. So you see a 25 year old white man with extensive tattoos who has a long beard that falls mainly off of his chin, who wears faded blue jeans and a dark ball cap, you might assume that he rides a motorcycle, and you might assume that he likes Korn, 311, and Vampire Weekend. That’s a filter. Is he a hipster? Is he a rocker? Is he a responsible adult who happens to like tattoos? What he looks like predetermines what he might be in your mind. You can’t help it. It’s natural. Maybe not correct or right, but totally natural, dude.
What are your character’s filters? How does your character see the world – that will help you determine what his/her personality is.