This is my FAVORITE part about writing. I love making a person. It's not an act of God, so he/she doesn't get to pick the eye color or hair color. Or if they hate peas and brocoli. I do! ;)
There are a few key characteristics that I can NOT move forward with character development without figuring out first. So I will bullet point them for you. ;0)
- What type of car they drive. I know this sounds silly but if you think about it the type of car a teenager chooses to drive or is made to drive can tell a lot about the character's personality and life style. Kella from The Guardian Tribe rides and old 60's Triumph motorcycle. And she fixes it herself. Tells you a lot doesn't it? (I will not tell you how many hours I have wasted figuring out what type of car a character drives and then never mention it the final version of the MS.)
- Where they live. Most of my books so far have been set in or around Portland. But for my collab project we decided to do a road trip and have them drive from Chicago to LA. Kelley lives somewhat near Chicago so I picked her brain for things that might help me figure out my character. Then we have them visit their grandparents in Texas. Yup, that is a whole lotta character development right there. Living in the south is kind of like living in another country. LOL. But setting really does create nuances in a person. Have any of you watched Portlandia? Yeah, they don't make that stuff up. People here are just a little different.
- What type of music they listen to. Okay, this is probably the most important for me. It's probably because of my musical back round and my hubby. But like the type of car they drive, the kind of music they listen to can show you a lot about that character AND later on down the road in the writing process can help you delve into their emotional state. I think a new character I'm still developing likes old school country music. She also happens to live in a small Oregon coastal town. I'm actually a little depressed she likes country music. Haha. I tend to listen to my character's music a lot while I'm drafting.
Once I have these 3 things along with their name of course I can start writing scenes. Yes, I usually figure out their physical appearance somewhere in the beginning as well. Most of the time the image of the person comes about the time I pick the name.
One of my CP's says she needs to know how her character kisses. Not sure that would be in my characterization chart, LOL, but it's in hers. So what things do you need to know before you can start to understand your character?