Sometimes our characters’ quirks and frailties provide the key moments of our story. Without these characteristics and flaws, the story would take dramatically different turns.

But do you know your character’s heart?

If you stripped away all the qualities that have been imposed on your character from the outside – by their family, friends, schools, and jobs – who would they be?

Consider yourself and how your life would be different if you’d be born into a different family or in a different town, if you had been raised in a different religion or without any religion at all. How would your personality differ if you hadn’t been forced to create coping mechanisms to deal with bullying or loneliness? What hobbies or interests did you adopt to bond with a parent or sibling?

Use those concepts to take a deep dive into your main characters. What habits, hobbies, or personality traits did they adopt to help them adapt to their emotional and physical environment?