Okay. Maybe not a can of actual worms, but I have found that some of my story ideas come from interactions I have within my own circle of acquaintances and said circle drew a collective gasp at my last post when I mentioned that I use them to flesh out my characters.
It really is one of the vital steps to bringing my characters to life. Most characters in literature are one or two dimensional, predictable almost. But by adding in traits of people I know and associate with, I hopefully make my characters more three dimensional. My goal is to make them seem more human. Fallible.
There is nothing more enthralling to me as a reader than to find that the character I am following in a book is just as human as I am. They may intend to do the right thing, but may not follow through. They have fears and strengths and they may not always play to their strengths. They aren’t all bad or all good. They are differing shades of grey just like you and I are.
I put a lot of thought into my characters and when they are faced with a situation where they must make a choice, I think of the person I am modeling the character after and ask myself, what would they do in this situation? Would they rise to the challenge or cower and flee? Sometimes they may even do both. My intent is always to make them the type of characters that are relatable to my readers. I want my readers to come away from the story with the thought that “Yes, I could very well make that choice if I were in that character’s shoes.” To me, that is the sign of a well written story.