A couple of my writing buddies very recently suggested that we set up a group on Facebook for our characters to interact in. I was a little confused to start with (sleep deprivation I think…) and didn’t initially understand the concept. Then another friend did a great blog post on it, which clarified the whole thing immediately. You can see her post here: Facebook for your fiction by Kim Koning.
Now there are a bunch of writers on Facebook with their characters running around… and with all those vibrant and eclectic personalities – who knows what sort of trouble our characters might get into!
Another writing friend of mine didn’t know it was my character, when my character asked her to be a friend on Facebook. I found this all rather amusing, especially when she was saying that he was a gorgeous lad, and basically asking if he was a Valentines gift for her.
It got me thinking about the fact that we all build characters for our creative writing adventures, but how many of us really know and picture them. When I start writing a new book, one of the first things I do when planning is a few character profiles. Each time new characters walks into the scene, I create a new one for those new personalities. Character profiling is one of the things I really love about the writing process. I take bits and pieces of personality from different people, or people I have observed, and mix them in together. Voila. A part of this process is gathering visual representation of each character. When I find good photos of people online (generally famous people) I can then start moulding personalities to them, and working out how these new fictional people can fit into the puzzle of the storyline and novel that lies ahead of me.
I have a million different character developing sheets that I use for this process, but when I’m drafting up a quick profile – I use this template to quickly get my ideas down: Quick Add Example
To store all the masses of information that I accumulate while writing, I use this incredible little system called Microsoft OneNote. Fabulous creation. It’s an electronic notebook that is part of Microsoft Office. You can build different notebooks for different things. I have one for each of my novels, each with their own tabbed sections, e.g. Plot Ideas, Character profiles, Research. Under each of those sections I have different pages built in – e.g. Wiki pages on a cathedral in Italy, or Skateboarding techniques and tricks. Honestly, it’s the easiest and most filing effective way I have ever encountered for my research. Then at the end of the book, I can either chose to dump it… but I prefer to PDF everything, and store it as a document bank in my back-up files.
In terms of having good-looking characters to play with? I might be a dreamer when it comes to character development… but at leave I’ve always got something decent to look at while I’m writing. J