For my current work in progress, I have two characters that are identical twins and a crucial part of the story revolves around the old twin switching trick where they pretend to be each other. How am I going to pull this off? It just so happens that there is a set of twins in my family. What better way to research characters than to observe it first hand?
While spending time with the twins in my family, I have noticed that being identical doesn’t mean they have the same personalities. May I introduce to my nephews you T-bone and Shrimp? Today is their ninth birthday. They may look the same, have their own twin language, which I plan to use in my book. They are also very protective of each other. It is interesting to see these two in action. T-bone is very out going and loves animals. His favorite thing to do is play with and ride our horses and has been known to open the gate to let all of them out just so he can watch them run and giggle at them. He rides his bike with his cousins and likes to join in the fun. Shrimp, on the other hand, is not as outgoing and is more on the shy side. He draws and likes math and is good at both. He doesn’t play as much with his cousins as his brother does. He is more of a momma’s boy and is very sweet in nature. When they were born, none of us could tell them apart so we had to dress them completely different. Now, as get older and their personalities are more developed, it is easy to see how different they really are.
The twins in my book will, in a lot of ways, be based on T-bone and Shrimp. They are such beautiful beings, inside and out that I know they will shine through in my characters. This is my method of researching for my characters, but there’s many different ways to bring life to yours.
Here’s some different and fun ways to achieve a deeper character development:
1. Pick and actor or actress that can closely represent your character’s looks and personality, just like you are casting them in a movie about your book. Collect pictures of them and store them on Pinterest, an electronic file in your computer, or a bulletin board covered with their pictures that’s hung in a central area close to where you write to draw inspiration.
2. Use your friends or people you know as the mold for your characters. We observe people daily, so why not make the best use out of them? Keep notes on them and their behaviors and apply them to your story.
3. People watch. If you are unsure of who you want your character to be or what you want them to look like, go to a public place like a shopping mall or a restaurant and bring a notebook. Watch strangers and how they interact with others and take note of any unique mannerisms that you can apply to your own characters.
Whichever method you use for character development, remember to have fun with it!