Adding depth to your character’s behaviour can enrich your story. Take your character out of the predictable into the unpredictable to add depth and layers.
A man and woman were high school sweethearts, married with a couple of young kids. Their’s was an enviable life; six-figure income, custom built home in an affluent neighbourhood, large circle of friends, active social life. All of a sudden, he begins to act irrationally; rude outbursts when in company, disinterest in his children, and careless behaviour that tha had the potential to put their lives in danger. Eventually, he walks away.
Was this a mid-life crisis or was he just tired of being husband, father and bread winner? Did he plan on a different life and lost control of the direction it was going in? Did he have a secret lover and used faked outbursts to drive his wife away? What was the dynamic of their relationship before all of this began or was he a prick to begin with; was she in denial or innocently unaware?
Then there is his wife; how did the breakup affect her life and those of her children? Did she have doubts about him before the marriage but followed through because the “family” expected it. Was she able to remain in the lifestyle they developed together; did their friends desert her? What about the kids; how did their father’s desertion effect them?
There are a lot of questions to ask and according to what genre you write in, the answers will help create the layers to your story e.g plot twists, add tension to scenes, and complexity to your character’s personality.
These are my own ideas, spawned by an article in this month’s Writer’s Digest: The Art of Breaking Character by Jessica Strawser. I suggest you grab a copy, and develop some of your own; it’s worth the read.
All my best…