One of the quickest ways to get bogged down in “writer’s block” is to not know your characters. Not knowing your main characters leaves you (and your characters) speechless when push comes to shove. And there will be a lot of shoving in November. National Novel Writing Month is fun, but it can get…hectic.
How do you get through it?
I say character bios are the best way.
You probably know what a character bio is, but try and sit down and write one. Just try it. Go ahead I’ll wait…
See! What do you have? Birthplace? Age? Gender? Name? Occupation? Not much huh?
How about this:
Facebook Page: This might sound silly, but think about it. What do people put on their FB pages? Everything! And who doesn’t know FB already. I even had a friend of mine actually create a FB page for her main jerk character. She did it because everyone who read her story hated him and she wanted to play with us. It was a riot!
Plus, you get to know your character inside and out. Their desires, their “likes”, their friends, hometown, dislikes.
Conversations: Some of my writer friends actually have conversations with their characters in their head. Laugh as you will, it seems to work for them. Me, I recognize the borderline mental illness that comes with having lively conversations with imaginary friends. Then again, don’t all fiction writers do this to some extent?
Me? I actually write dialogs. I have my character talk to whoever or whatever I want. Just something, so I can get a sense of their voice. Without knowing your character’s voice, they will sound just like your narrator, and unless you’re writing first person, that’s a problem.
I also write long back stories. I don’t write actual back STORIES like friends of mine, but I take extensive notes that include everything from relatives to pets to regular irritations, loves, hates, and the like. Anything that comes to mind that builds my characters into living breathing individuals. See? I’m just as ill.
Note Cards and Separate Documents: Have all these bios surrounding you. Either on the way where you write most often or on your phone or on your computer so you can easily get to them when the going gets tough and the time gets going.
How do you write your Character Bios?