Some listen to music while others hike up steep hills. Some garden while others paint. Some write letters. Take long walks with friends. Read a book. Design cards. Eat out. Go to movies or the theater.
No matter how obnoxious the character, at some point he relaxes with a preferred activity, so give him one. It would be more startling if the activity is in direct conflict with the character’s viciousness. For example, a serial killer cuddling up with a tiny kitten. Or a bank robber playing Mozart on a grand piano.
All of your characters need to have at least one preferred leisure activity. We need to see them not just at work, but doing something that allows them to break free of the hassle of their work lives.
Your task is to select a character that you know and love. Make a list of at least five different activities that she would enjoy. Choose some that require physical activity, some that require some degree of skill or talent, and some that almost anyone can do.
Choose one of them to incorporate in a scene. When you write, allow us to see your character relaxed, enjoying the activity. Allow us to feel what she feels, see what she sees, hear what she hears.
Somewhere during the activity, let there be an interruption. Have her react appropriately. Is she annoyed? Angry? Or does she welcome the distraction?
When you are finished, reread looking for the emotional reactions.
Have fun with this one.