For me, knowing who my character is, what they feel like and who they are, is of the utmost importance. If I have a poorly developed character I struggle with what they do, how they act and what they say. Writing can already be so much like bleeding to death a drop at a time, that not doing your homework beforehand makes it all the more painful.
For the first book I wrote and finished, Second Chance Key, I took the easy way out. I based the characters in the book on my friends and family. Cop out, I know. But I did it for a very specific reason. It was November 1st and I had just learned about NaNoWrimo! NaNoWrimo requires you to write 50,000 words in a matter of 30 days and… it must be something totally new. New! ACK!! I was working on Earthbound when I tossed it aside to do Lodestone, what I thought would be a novella (but is now around 70,000 words) because I thought it would be a quick write. Silly me. So, I find out about NaNoWrimo and I decide to put Lodestone aside to start what became Second Chance Key. With no time to cast my story or even come up with one, I decided to go with a story I had told my children while we stayed at my brother’s lake house. And then I pretty much flew by the seat of my pants for the following 30 days. For Second Chance Key, I needed to do what was easy and taking character development out of the equation made things SO much easier. So I “won” my first year. YAY!
However, with my other stories, I do things a bit differently. One thing I did for Lodestone was I created Wander her own Pinterest board. This helped me not only find inspiration for the story (I also have a secret Lodestone board for my own personal notes/character inspirations) but it let Wander express her style, dreams and things she likes. I was able to go back and look at some of her outfits, then have her wear them later. The music she liked, what movies and so on.
I don’t know that I will always create a Pinterest account for each of my main characters, but from now on I will definitely be having a secret board for each book so I can pin my different inspirations there. It’s incredibly helpful and is a great place to keep your research!
There is my free advice for today 😉