Okay – I’m at the crossroads in the cycle of my writing life. I’m done with one manuscript (although I may switch some chapters around do some rewrites – but I digress) and chomping at the bit to start the next one. And, this is my honeymoon period, my magical time when I am getting to know my characters and seeing where they want to go with this story. Why do they need this story told?
I have a process for this and a place where I deposit all of this crazy information that I glean and will probably never use. I dump all this stuff – photos (Like the inspiration for my latest hero), maps, research – into Scrivener for Windows in the WIP Notebook I bought from Jeannie Reusch and loaded into the Scrivener tool. This allows me to keep track of the details of names, places etc of the main characters and the secondary characters as well. It’s a little anal but it keeps from calling the mailman Bob in Chapter 1 and Skippy in Chapter 6.
But, this really doesn’t help me get under the skin of my character. Yep, their eye color is important but it doesn’t get to the essence of my character. So, I’ve developed a few questions that help me get down to the grit of who the hero and heroine are:
1. What do you want out of life?
2. What is keeping you from achieving that goal?
3. What is the one thing you wouldn’t want the hero/heroine to know about you?
4. What is your biggest regret?
5. What are you most proud of in your life?
6. What are you most ashamed of in your life?
7. When you walk in a room, what are the three things people will notice about you?
8. What would you be willing to lie about?
9. How would you like to die?
10. What are the most important traits in a true friend?
That’s my list. Pretty grim but I think that the darkest parts of ourselves are what really counts – the rest is a facade for the comfort of other people.
So, what are your questions? What is your process?