Huge blogging experiment day!!!! If you haven't checked out the incredible list of people participating in this yet, head to Elana's blog - just truly WOW.
So...how do I write compelling characters? My first drafts I really just sit down and write. My characters come out, start developing little quirks and foibles, and in revisions, I take a look at those and exploit them to the best of my ability :D
For instance, my very first main character, Min, was a clutz...if there was a puddle, she'd fall in it, if there was a table to run into, she'd be yelling ow, if there was some way to make a fool of herself, she did so. I love this about her. It makes her funny and gives the reader a reason to root for her. But I didn't want her to ONLY be a clutz.
So here is where my layering begins. I look at the other aspects of her personality and try to beef up other parts of her. She's highly intelligent, brave, curious - so I went through the story and made sure those aspects of her character were apparent.
One thing I learned from my CPs was to be consistent with my characters - the MC of my last book is a boxer. She's feisty. But I had a lot of sections in the book where that aspect of her character got lost. She wasn't reacting to certain situations the way a feisty boxer chick should react. So I had to go through and make sure she was being consistent to who she was.
Bottom line - I try to write characters that people will want to read about. Characters that are flawed and real, who do things and say things the way real people would. The character's main quirks and personality traits generally come through in the first draft. And then during my layering process I go back through and beef up other aspects of his or her personality to make sure they aren't one dimensional, so one trait doesn't overshadow who they are as a whole. And I make sure they are true to who they are.
Be sure to head to Elana's blog and check out all the other fabulous posts on this topic!!!
LAYERS - (for Vicki) :D