I learn more about my characters by letting them hang out in my real life, even if it’s nothing like their own world.
Dalvin, for instance, likes to blare pop rock music and take the wheel when we’re in the car. She’s a surprisingly competent driver, for a girl from a world in which mills and magic are the height of technological advancement.
When I ask her why she likes it so much, she answers, “It’s a lot like battle, isn’t it? One wrong move and you’re dead or injured, and there’s nothing for it but to let your body outpace your mind and do what you’ve taught it to do. It’s very relaxing.”
Relaxing? To think that you’re one wrong move away from injury or death? I certainly don’t want to think of driving in that light… How on earth do you find your looming mortality relaxing?
Rarely interested in self-reflection, she only shrugs. “Everything’s too immediate to be fussed with thinking about it. I don’t like thinking.”
Huh. That’s an odd thing to say. Why don’t you like thinking?
She gives me a dirty look. “I don’t know,” she says slowly. “Do you want me to think about it?”
Ah. Looks like I’ve used up her introspection for the day.
In which Dalvin is forced not only to fight for her life… but to think about it.