No novel writing last night. I got home from work and pretty much immediately started IM gaming. So, all the discomfort of typing my fingers off for six hours with no new chapters to show for it. Still, it got me thinking. A friend of mine was asking me about character and oddly enough the same topic came up a critique group I belong to. At the time, I didn't have a lot of answers. I know what I do but I don't know if that's the 'right' way to do character.
I get into the shoes of my characters; no, I get into their skin, their mind. I get to know them from the inside out and then I put them into situations and the way they react tells the story. Of course, I sometimes need to step out of their skin and nudge them towards the plot sometimes but, that's just the way it goes. Anyway, my subconscious has been tickling at the question for days.
What is character? What makes a good character? It came to me: in writing as well as in life, character is what you do. Not what you say, though what a character says revels things about them as well, but what a character does determines what they are. And that's true in life, too. There's the old saying, 'talk is cheap' or if you want to go biblical, 'by their fruits, you shall know them.' So what your character does reveals who they are and what kind of character they are.
Now to go back and look at what Jael and Jacob do as opposed to what they say or think.