Anyone following this blog doesn't need to be told the utmost, earth-shattering importance of character development, so I won't repeat what you already know. (But just on the off-chance that you don't know: IT'S REALLY IMPORTANT!!!)
We've all spent those long hours studying a character's nervous tics, or their accent, or the way they choose their words, or the reason they have that aversion to certain things. That's all important stuff to know, too.
But today, try something a little more fun:
Empty your pockets. I'm emptying mine on the computer desk right now. Let's see:
2 pocket knives
1 cell phone
1 cough drop
1 ponytail holder
1 2GB flashdrive
some little balls of styrofoam stuffing that leaked out of my lap desk earlier and are now static-stuck to absolutely everything
Got your pockets emptied now? Good. Now, empty your character's pockets (If your character doesn't have pockets for whatever reason, then empty her purse or his saddle bags--you get the idea).
What do you find? Is it all pretty ordinary, just the kind of things you would expect such a character to carry around? Are you surprised by anything your character shells out? Is there a particular item that he or she is embarrassed or reluctant to show you? Is there something they're carrying that is unique to them--something that only they and no one else would have? What do the contents of their pockets tell you about their personality, backstory, desires, or fears?
As always, feel free to share your finds or thoughts!