Characters and how to find them:
Now when I'm about to start a story I usually have a character in mind and a situation. Say a oceanographer and tectonic plate tearing (EarthFall) or Secretary torn between two war time lovers (Time to Dream) or Girl finding out her dad's a Selkie and she is one too! (The Same Skin). And Girl Pirate in Alternate Space Reality.... well that's the working title right now so lol let's just go with it.
I usually do a quick scroll through pictures to find one that looks like the character I have in mind, say for instance Gwen from EarthFall:
or Jack Coyle from EarthFall
oh okay I'll give you another of Jack, just coz I'm noice...
So why do I need pictures? Because I'm a visual girl, I like to see who my people are, imagine they way they'd walk/talk/interact with others. It helps me when I need to write facial expressions or how the hero/heroine fit together that sort of thing.
For Time to Dream I actually saw a young electrician in my local super market and I followed him around for a few minutes watching how he moved, what he did, etc etc... No it was not strictly classified as STALKING... I was researching, and yes I did receive looks from strangers as this weird woman pushing a twin pram around the aisles ducking in and out as she tried desperately not to be seen by the electrician. It's something I did in the name of my art... Hubby advised me not to do that sort of thing again, apparently you could get arrested.
My hero for The Same Skin looks like this:
Ronan Beaumont.... he's actually got a few secrets of his own that Jane eventually finds out about...
So these pictures help me formulate ideas and movements, and generally help me get to know my people. Another great resource I use when I'm working out who the story is about is Lynn Veihls The Novel Notebook which helped me flesh out The Same Skin in three days and I wrote it in NINE... yep 50,000 words in 9 days... it can happen. She takes you through working out who the story is about and how your different ideas will affect not only them but those around them. It does help tremendously.
Even if you're not a plotter having a detailed character description can't hurt.
Anything that helps November roll around smoothly is worth the effort I think.
And you can call all that time spent drooling I mean searching for Heroes as research time and kick everyone else off the computer while you go look.
What does your hero/heroine look like? Do you have a favourite real live person that you base characters on... oh note to self: do not allow the other girls to get hold of the latest Hugh Jackman pictures, it'll just get too steamy around here.