Find the essence of your fictional characters, their roots, to see how they will grow. It might reveal something about yourself too.
The soil above the seed is hard to push through, but this very handicap, this resistance to the soil, forces the young sprout to gather strength for the battle. Where shall it get this additional strength? Instead of fighting ineffectively against the topsoil, the seed sends out delicate roots to gather more nourishment. Thus the sprout at last penetrates the hard soil and wins through to the sun. According to science, a single thistle needs ten thousand inches of root to support a thirty- or forty-inch stem. You can guess how many thousands of facts a dramatist must unearth to support a single character. By way of parable, let a man represent the soil; in his mind we shall plant a seed of coming conflict: ambition, perhaps. The seed grows in him, though he may wish to squelch it. But forces within and without the man exert greater and greater pressure, until this seed of conflict is strong enough to burst through his stubborn head. He has made a decision, and now he will act upon it. The contradictions within a man and the contradictions around him create a decision and a conflict. These in turn force him into a new decision and a new conflict.”
Lajos Egri. The Art of Dramatic Writing
Ask the question, “Who am I?” The question should be deeply rooted in you, like a new seed nestled deep in the soft earth and damp with water.
Thich Nhat Hanh translated by Mobi Ho. C