I’m dishing out some of the wisdom found in Jeff Gerke’s book Plot vs. Character regarding building believable characters. I’ve discussed temperament, physical and natural attributes, love language, and passion. Now I’ll move on to current status.
Where is your character at when the story begins? Married? Divorced? Kids? Wealthy? Successful? Overachiever or underachiever? What is his life situation right now?
Next, is your character happy with the current state of affairs? Given her temperament and upbringing and zealousness, is this where she thought she’d be at this point in her life? If not, what is she lacking and how will she get it? What are her current goals?
How moral is he? Is he meeting his own standards of right and wrong, or has he crossed the line somewhere and feeling guilty about it? Would his mama be proud of him? Is he in jail, or even been in jail? Does he wants his kids to emulate his behavior?
Once you know the emotional and physical state of your character, you can find ways to shake him up even more.