A character comes to mind, or you call one forth or start to sketch one out. Maybe you start telling their story and you find gaps and holes begin to pop up, or the character floats grayly in a fog and eludes your vision. How do you get to know them better?
When I first tackled writing a novel, I found that simply telling the story only carried me so far. I had to take occasional rest stops to get to know my characters. The story would grind to a halt because I didn't really know their history as well as I needed to.
What was their childhood like? Where did they grow up? Who is their family? What do they want? Has it changed? What is their job? How do they dress? What little stories and memories do they carry around? What makes them laugh?
I believe there are no pointless questions to ask about character, because you never know what little details may pop into the story later and give your reader that extra measure of reality.
Sometimes, I sketched out a history. Sometimes, I retold a crucial scene from the perspective of a character I needed to understand better. Sometimes, I had other characters describe the person in question.
So I ask again, what do you do to spend time with your characters? Ever met a character you couldn't stand? Did you keep him or her and make yourself get to know them? Or did you decide they were better left undisturbed?
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