Road Rage/Back Story:
As I was driving to an appointment the other day, I was thinking about road rage, maybe because I was running late to my fasting lab and there was this stupid car in front of me that was having issues staying in their lane.
Anyway I was getting rather irritated until finally I could get away from them.
I usually don't get road rage, my husband does (hey hon--yes I did just tell on you). I always try to make up some absurd back story for why the person is driving like an idiot--like maybe they're having a bad day--their mom just died of cancer, they have three kids riding in the back and they are all crying because they were really hungry because they had to buy flowers for the funeral or food, and they chose the flowers...(okay, they aren't that elaborate). Anyway I try and excuse their behavior--to which my husband response in a nutshell is like: Whose side are you on?
But after I finished my lab, (which involved drinking a bottle of syrup and waiting an hour before I got to use the potty and get my blood drawn) I wasn't the being the best of drivers.
Talk about blood sugar crash... I only went a block before I realized I wouldn't make it the thirty minutes home. Anyway I realized how important back story is...for every character in your book. My exact thought was: "Maybe that girl weaving in and out of her lane that morning had just had her glucose test done."
I'm not saying you should elaborate and tell us all the characters life long secrets, but you need to know them, they need motivation for their actions, for why they respond to people or situations certain ways.... and maybe for why they are being such crappy drivers that day.
Sometimes it helps to fill out those character questionnaires again after you write your book. I did this when I was writing the first draft, but I didn't know them as well until after I finished. Many drafts later I re-did a couple of questionnaires for characters that fell flat and it really helped me get into their heads.