Point-And-Click Characterisation :: using the internet to create people
The internet is a wealth of information on how to write. So much, that you can read it all and never write anything! Make your websurfing time work for you, instead of against you.
Google :: The Google image search is the perfect way to get an idea of just what your characters look like. Meet Xavier, the hero of the book I should be writing as I type this, Driven to Distraction.
Monster :: Your characters have jobs, right? Look up their occupation on Monster for job descriptions, salary guidelines, and educational qualifications.
The Colors of Sex :: I get to write steamy, so I think it is good to know how my characters would act BEFORE I have them acting. Xavier is RED: People who like red tend to be tigers in the sack. They are easily aroused and enjoy sex in every way imaginable. Once the sexual spark is ignited, it may take hours to extinguish. When two reds get together, the ensuing erotica could make Lady Chatterly blush. Lovers of red tend to be aggressors and weaker colors should be aware.
Hero Archetypes :: This is a great site for heroes & heroines. It helps solidify their character in your mind. Xavier is a CHARMER: fun, irresistible, unreliable, creates a party, smooth operator, playboy, rogue. Leo Dicaprio. (why does Leo keep coming up? Seriously...here, astrology, ennegrams...I need to embrace Xavier's inner Leo!)
Emotional Baggage or Internal Forces Keep Lovers Apart :: Inkalicious has great cheat sheets. This is good for making sure you have a handle on your characters' internal conflict.
Enneagrams :: A lot of writers swear by ennegrams. Xavier is Type Seven: The Enthusiast. However, I use these mainly for motivation. Knowing that sevens "want to maintain their freedom and happiness, to avoid missing out on worthwhile experiences, to keep themselves excited and occupied, to avoid and discharge pain" helps me keep perspective.
After I gather this information online, I turn to two books I can't create characters without. A simple Astrology book. These are great for basic character traits. Grab one on any bookstore clearance table, they are everywhere. Then, there is a modern relationship Astrology book I adore -- He's Just Not In The Stars. It goes deeper into the nuances of each sign, and therefore, deeper into character description.
Do you see how much work you just got done on your FinDaBoo! Congratulations, you deserve a cookie and a chapter in that novel you're reading. Don't let month three scare you. We're all doing this because it is great fun, no matter how frustrated you get along the way!
XOXOXO -- Jenna
Right now Jenna is in her writing cave, completely stocked with coffee, Girl Scout Thin Mints and Pink CD's, working on her latest story, Driven To Distraction. Her latest release, Cooking Up A Storm was crafted using the ideas listed here. When she is procrastinating, she has lots to say on her blog, website, and reading group, We Call It Research.