As noted earlier, the three main areas of characterization that most writing instruction focuses on are:
- Physical (sex, race, age, attractiveness, health)
- Psychological (love, hate, fear, pride, shame, guilt, success, failure)
- Sociological (class, education, work, family, friends, home)
These remain our key areas of concern, but instead of just accumulating information, ask: How does my character’s physical, psychological and sociological makeup affect his interactions with others? This forces you to picture the character in scenes, in which this or that element of his
personality or past affects how he interacts with the other characters in the story.
You do not have to explore all or even most of the following areas for any particular character. Rather, pick two or five or 10 areas you find particularly interesting or productive, or which speak to the needs of the particular character given the Problem, Insight and Decision at hand. If you need more, the story will let you know.