As I mentioned earlier, I’m following First Draft in 30 Days by Karen Wiesner and it has been the first week. During this week I am working on character sketches, setting sketches, and reviewing my outline for Unraveling A Gentleman.
Now I have been brainstorming on this novel for two years. I had thought I had written down everything I could think of about these two very interesting people, but doing the character sketch really opened my eyes to how little I knew these people.
I have a hard time describing what I want my hero and heroine to be like. I know them. I know what they are like, how they speak, how they are going to react in certain situations, but until I wrote out the character sketches, I didn’t know everything.
The character sketch forced me to spell out every detail of each character. Mannerisms, characteristics. Does he bite his nails when he’s nervous; pace when he’s thinking. She twirls her hair when she’s flirting. These are the things that makes characters human.
It was amazing what those little traits did. It made them more real to me. I had thought they were already real, but this drove it home.
The setting sketches allowed me to build my regency world. I gathered photos of the English countryside. Pictures of cottages and country houses and rambling paths through the woods. The places became more real, more alive and part of the story, as it is supposed to be.
So how do you learn about the people in your stories? What tricks have you learned? What books have been useful?
Who are your favorite characters? The ones who became the most alive while you read? What made them memoriable to you?