I realize this website has become quite self-serving. I haven’t written a pro-tip in a while, but I’ve advertised the life out of my book.
Oh, well. Here comes some more–a pro-tip/advertisement hybrid.
For my characterization planning, I wrote from the point of view of Atlas to better get into his head. Even when characterization exercises don’t make it into the book directly, familiarizing myself with my characters on that level allows me to write about them as if they are each a real person. I highly recommend it.
There’s no right way to do this. For me, these things usually come in fits and starts in the middle of the night. The MEMO section of my cellphone is awash in brooding prose that has no bearing on my emotional state but that of my characters.
I know other writers who carry around a journal everywhere they go, just in case. That’s a bit much for me. No girl needs anything extra added to the weight of her purse. There’s enough in there already!
However, I am drowning in post-it notes. Someone out there, please invent a post-it note binder or portfolio so I can store these things with some logic.
Regardless of how you might choose to complete your characterization projects, I recommend that you do it somehow, sometime, before you write the final revision of a text. Acephalous is a different book from the version people test read, and it’s a good thing it is.
If your dialogue makes you outwardly cringe, try a character profile sheet or writing a poem from his or her point of view. It works.