THE WAY I SEE IT
One day, two of my coworkers were pushing carts down a walkway, heading toward each other.
One shouted, “Whoa!”
The other kept going, until the carts collided, spilling their contents on the floor. “Why didn’t you say ‘stop?'” he asked. “What’s ‘whoa’ mean?”
Obviously, one coworker has had experience with horses, and the other has not. I can relate. Because of my equine background, I say, “whoa” instead of “stop” all the time. I also respond faster to “whoa.” It’s part of who I am. It’s part of how I connect to the world around me.
The same goes for your characters. Their background and experiences should color how they see the people, places, and objects in your story. In my upcoming novel, I show that my protagonist is a horsewoman by how she constantly does comparisons to the equine world. She evaluates people by their horses first.
Drawing from your character’s own experiences will give them depth and personality. In short, making them alive to your readers.