PM asked yesterday what makes a good hero. This ties in beautifully with what I've been contemplating lately :-) I'm in the process of my first round edits for the book I'm working on (first round because I write very rough drafts and end up with several edits - although each pass goes fairly quickly).
Anyway, the edit stage of any book is when I finally let out the other people that have been trying to push their way into the forefront of my brain for attention. Several of them leak out - which is why I'm currently plotting two spin-off books from the one I'm working on now for 3 of the secondary characters - but generally I can hold them at bay (cause if I didn't I'd never be able to concentrate on the current story). My process always begins with the characters so whenever I start a new story I begin with a character sketch. Now, I don't mean a detailed questionnaire or anything, the playfriends with attest to the fact that I abhor conventional methods for anything :-). I generally just sit down with my pen and paper, or in front of the computer, or with my alphasmart and start writing/brainstorming ideas for this character. In most cases, there are quite of few things that the person is certain of :-) and a few here and there where I fill in the details myself.
This brings me to a question though....Characterization. What makes a character likeable? And how do you take an idea from your imagination (sssshhh, don't tell them I said that) and breath life into them? What makes these people REAL? 3 Dimensional?
What makes a character pop off the page for you? Make you truly care about them and the struggles they face?
Instigator - who is shamelessly picking brains to make sure that her characters are perfectly real :-)