Continuing my series of posts on character exploration and development:
Placing your characters into their own unique social contexts--the external life circumstances your people have lived through and are currently involved in—is essential. By doing so, you'll start seriously to dig into their lives and begin asking some critical questions about the forces that have shaped them and that continue to influence how they think and act. Every person has a definite set of social circumstances that has helped define who he or she is. I suggest you need to have a pretty good idea of what these are for each of your people.
For starters, make some choices about each character's own blood family circumstances. There are a whole set of crucial questions you need to think about: