The next step before writing your characters is knowing your characters.
For me that starts with people watching.
Whenever I’m out I look at people, what they’re doing and how they’re doing it; mainly I’m observing all those nonverbals that make characters and people so memorable. That’s what I do all the time, but when I’m researching for a specific character I people watch in a specific way. Remember a couple of posts ago I said how I saw that tall guy and it helped me relate to Joel so much better? The same is true here. I people watch people who remind me of my characters. Now I know that won’t help much if you’re writing high fiction and your character is a fire breathing fairy (for example), but I still think it will. People are still people and that’s who you’re trying to relate to: people, aka your readers.
Ask yourself what kind of person is your fire breathing fairy? Is he/she shy, or outrageous - kind or kind of wicked? Decide and then park yourself around those kind of people and have a field day, but make sure you have your notebook with you. You’re going to need it.
So what if you don’t know what kind of person your character is yet? Don’t fret, because on Thursday’s post I’ll bring out my single most valuable tool as a writer: The List.