Back to the green beans.
When my department volunteered at the food depository, we broke out into two teams. There were two assembly lines, so the teams evolved naturally rather than us planning a competition. I was on the winning team (boxed the most cans), so naturally we thought there was a contest. My co-workers on the other team didn’t deign to talk about any competition.
The closest I heard them talking about it was to mention “well, you know who we had on our team.”
I.E. The slow one.
You can take the boy out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the boy. Seems that applies pretty much anywhere. In the office or in the food depository, people’s personalities are consistent.
The person who just does her job, doesn’t ask questions, then punches out when it’s time. That can apply outside the office, too. The person who is meticulous to the point of absurdity? Yeah, you don’t want him on your team.
When you’re working with a character, do you ever imagine them in a scene that will never be in your book…just to see if you have a handle on them?
I’m not talking about the moment when you’re at karaoke and you discover that the guy who slurps his soda in the next cube is really an amazing singer or you’re at the corporate picnic and find out that the woman who talks incredibly loud on the phone can pummel you in a softball game. I’m not talking hidden talents. I’m talking the basics, the core of who someone is.
I don’t make it a habit of taking my characters out of their world and inserting them into mine (a “what would Julia do?” if you will), but I may start. Seeing the consistencies in my co-worker was an interesting exercise in character study.