Check out the character sketch I did in one of my writing workshops. Some of the information will be in the finished novel, and some is background for me to develop the story and understand his motivations.
Questions for the Character: Pop Anderson
Why is Pop so contrary and angry? After serving nearly twenty-five years in the U.S. Army, a disagreement with his supervisor stalled Pop’s military career and forced him to retire before reaching his goal of putting on Sergeant Major. Since then, Pop has struggled with authority and giving anyone else control even over minor aspects of his life.
What did Pop do for a living after retiring from the military? Because Pop could not stand the idea of working under someone else’s management, Pop opened a gun and liquor store, Bullet Proof. He has since sold the business maintains strong friendships with many of his former customers and fellow veterans. Pop and his friends share a love of weaponry, hunting and fishing, and ice-cold American beer.
How does Pop’s health affect his behavior and lifestyle? Pop refuses to admit smoking has caused his COPD and blames the affliction on his years fighting overseas in Vietnam. Despite the breathing issues and with the aid of oxygen and his mobility scooter, Pop remains active in his community and with his buddies. His physical health has had no effect on his intelligence. However, on days when he is too ill to socialize, Pop becomes even more hostile and argumentative.
Why does Pop treat Holli with disdain? When Holli and Bing were in grade school, their parents (Pop’s and Merry’s daughter, Heather, and son-in-law, Brian Adair) moved to India to study Vedic principles and learn Hinduism—and never returned. Pop expected to have the siblings in the home for a few years at most, and although he loves both of them, resents their intrusion on his life. Also, Pop feels abandoned and hurt his daughter chose her husband and beliefs over her family. Unfortunately, often Holli and Bing take the brunt of Pop’s emotional baggage.
What does Pop do to show Holli he does love her? In response to his daughter’s move, Pop became overly strict and protective, believing a restrictive environment would keep Holli from behaving the same as her mother. As Holli grew older, her personality mirrored her mother’s; as a result, Pop often overreacted to any transgressions to keep Holli safe and in his care. Although Holli does not know it yet, Pop put his home and savings (the proceeds from the sale of his business) in Holli’s name. Sometimes—especially after drinking—Pop refers to Holli as Heather.
What positive characteristics does Pop have? Pop is generous with his friends and the first to volunteer when someone is in need (house burns down, losses a job, death in the family). Pop has a wicked, dry sense of humor, keeps butterscotch hard candies in his pocket, and is a die-hard Oklahoma Sooner fan—football, in particular.