Here’s an ‘intrinsic trait’ to consider: I search for my characters. Everywhere.
I heard about this notion in books, movies, television series, etc.–a character has never met his/her mother, father, sister, brother, and so forth, maybe he or she was adopted, or maybe the parent (relative, whatever the case may be) left when the character was a mere child. But at some point he or she will say something along the lines of I search for [them] everywhere. Every street, every crowd. I scan the faces, hoping I’ll recognize [him, her, them].
Albeit, the language is usually more romantic-sounding than what I just provided, but I imagine all you reading this will get the idea. I don’t have any mystery relatives out there; fortunately, I know where I came from. I do, however, have mystery characters. And I look for them. I’ll stare down strangers and wonder are they my people? Are they who I am creating? Sometimes a new person will enter my life, and I’ll think Oh wow! That’s Character A or character G (I’m saving the identity of my characters until I feel ready; in many respects I owe that to them). Then I’ll look closer though, and I’ll think, No, actually. Not exactly. Nope, not character D. But close!
Last weekend in Cape May, I saw a couple leave the hotel we stayed in. Just a couple enjoying New Year’s, but at the sight of them my body physically reacted. Two of my characters. Together. The guy looked like my guy. The girl looked like my girl. It was very bizarre, and I course took it as a sign–I always do. Yet again, on closer inspection I saw that it was just the external framework that triggered my response. And I felt…let down. Deflated. I still haven’t found them. They truly are that unique. I’ll keep looking though. I’m dying to meet them.