There are three main questions, powerful, yet short, which an author should ask and answer for each of their characters. The first question is, what does your character want? What does he desire more than anything? What will he give anything for and what is he striving for? Coupled with this question (if the character is a major one) is what does he really need, and is it what he wants?
Secondly, what does your character fear? What will he do almost anything to avoid? Is what he wants more powerful than what he fears or vice versa?
Today, we’ll move to the last major question which should be asked while developing characters:
What does your character depend on?
Does your character depend on himself for strength? To get things done? Is he the ‘end of the line’? Or does he rely on someone higher than himself. A family. A king. A magical weapon. A nation. A God, either true or false.
Though this question may be very much in the background of your story and plot, it makes all the difference to the character. Even if the actions of a man rescuing his daughter, or a princess taking back her throne end up being the same, the attitudes and emotions coupled with their actions will change drastically depending on who, or what, they rely on.
The degrees of reliance may change too, though for minor characters simply answering the question will be enough. For others, reliance on self, land, or God may shift through their character arc, either for better or worse.
And there you have it! Three questions to keep in mind for each character as you write about them. What does your character want more than anything? What do they fear? And what do they rely on?