Some people start their stories with a plot ideas. Others start with a character in mind.
I’m going to talk about character first, simply because that’s the way I write. Next week we’ll talk about plot.
Even if you don’t plan on outlining for NaNoWriMo, you’ll need at least a main character to start with. However, how much you’ll decide ahead of time will depend on your personal preference.
There’s no shortage of character profile worksheets available on the web. I’ve linked a few here for those that are interested in detailing their characters.
Do you really need to know what color hair your main character has and when her birthday is and what happened when she was in third grade before you can begin your NaNo writing?
What’s really important for NaNo is knowing your character’s goal and motivation. You just have to know why she’s there. Once you’ve got her on stage and interacting with other characters, the rest will come.
If you know the goals and motivations of your other major characters — including the antagonist — that’d be great too.
Anything else is icing on the cake.
You should print or save blank copies of character profile worksheets to fill in as you go. This way you’ll remember all those pesky little details you are inspired to make up as you are madly typing in your words.
As a pure outliner, I’ll be filling out character profiles and googling pictures of what all my characters look like, before November 1.
Profile Sheets From First Draft in 30 Days
Profile Sheet that Includes “Interview” Questions
Plot vs Character by Jeff Gerke builds characters from the inside out based on the Meyers-Briggs personality types.
For the comments: Do you have ideas already for your characters? Will you be filling out detailed profiles ahead of time or will you meet your characters throughout the story? Do you have a certain worksheet or set of questions you like to fill out for your characters? What comes first when you have a story idea: your character(s) or your plot?