Here are seven more questions to throw at your characters while you are speed-dating them. Pay close attention to the last three or four, because they will become important as you write. Your reader will forgive you eventually for forgetting that John's eyes are blue, not hazel, but they'll leave you if your character slouches in one scene and struts in another.
I should have taken the Mouse's advice when writing my current WIP. Because I hadn't thought through what her role would be in he story, one of my characters started out as innocuous and bland. Then, 200 pages later, she pulled the rug out from under one of my other characters in a particularly vicious manner, and her actions made no sense at all. I had to go back and re-write some of the beginning in order to make her final behaviors believable.
So ask your characters about these things and then use the mannerisms and verbal tics throughout the story.
• What beliefs do you hold most tightly? Which ones would you be willing to carve on a rock?
• What is your idea of a perfect day? Where and with whom would you spend it, and what would you do?
• What are your favorite expressions? Do you use the latest slang, or do you show off your extensive vocabulary? Do you slip into a more pronounced accent or dialect when you are excited? Do you have a verbal tic, saying “um” or “uh” or “like” or ”you know”?
• What does your posture say about you? Do you slouch, or hunch your shoulders, or keep your arms crossed? Do you keep your eyes on the ground when you walk? Or are your shoulders thrown back as a sign of conﬁdence?
• What about eye contact? Do you keep looking away, or are you giving me a belligerent stare? Are you squinting at me or raising a skeptical eyebrow? Are you avoiding eye contact because you are nervous or because you are bored? Does your smile reach your eyes?
• Does standing close to someone make you uncomfortable? Or do you frequently reach out to make physical contact?
• And what do your other gestures say about you? Do you play with your hair or brush it back impatiently? Do you have a “twitch” or unconscious mannerism? Do you pick at a hangnail, chew your lip, shufﬂe your feet, or bite your fingernails?
We all send out signals with our body language, and most of us are able to interpret those signals, if only subconsciously. If your characters behave as real people do, your readers will judge them accurately.
To read more tips on characterization, visit the Mouse at http://www.amazon.com/Second-Mouse-Gets-Cheese-ebook/dp/B0076B1TE2