In her book Breathing Life Into Your Characters, Rachel Ballon says, “every character in a scene, story, or vignette needs I.C.E.”
Obviously, she’s not talking about the ice that forms when water freezes, but there is an interesting correlation there. For example, a great deal of energy is expended before water turns into ice. Energy must also be expended by the writer to create characters that have depth. If not, then you end up with characters who actually feel cold because they are as dull and lifeless as a corpse.
So, what is I.C.E.?
According to Rachel Ballon, “you give your characters more intensity, conflict, and emotions by giving them a goal that they desperately have to reach. The more desperate the goal, the more intensity. The more opposition or obstacles that stand in the way, the more conflict. The greater the inner desire to reach the goal, the greater the emotions.”
When you mix the cocktail for your character, don’t forget the I.C.E. Serve them “on the rocks.” Shaken or stirred? That’s up to you, but I recommend both.