Creating characters who are "real characters"

One of the things that authors love about writing fiction is that it's all made up. We can create really crazy people doing wacky things.

Yet recently I realized some of my characters are more sedate on the page than the "characters" I know in real life. Time to 'up the anty' on my fictional characters, I said to myself.

In fact, when I teach students about Character Development, I ask them to imagine their character from the inside out. Not just how the character looks and dresses and walks, but how they act in any given situation. How smart are they? Yet what are they stupid about? How blind they are to their own flaws? Or how aware and trying to hide them? What are their ticks and tells? When do they show off versus stay quiet.

From now on I'll also ask: what's the craziest thing your hero or heroine has ever done?

Go ahead and ask this question of your characters.

No, not just between the pages of the manuscript when the character's under pressure, but on a normal day. Maybe in the character's past, like when they were in college (we all did wacky things then, right?). Maybe in public or at a family get together. Maybe when they were alone and thought nobody was looking.

Then feel free to post your answers so we can all enjoy the "real characters" you're writing!