I’ve heard it said that the purpose of pain is to allow us to more readily empathize with others’ pain. In the same way, I can remember and hold in reserve the loss and pain I’ve suffered, physical and emotional, so that when my character needs to feel true loss or pain, I can bring it back and give it to her. Or to them really, since my secondary characters may need to suffer too. In fact, one of them does, so I just need to dig in and give him those feelings. (I was going to say more here, but I might be tiptoeing into spoiler territory since I don’t know where in the book this is going to appear, so ’nuff said.)
Just like I have to give them the painful feelings, so too I can give them the joyful ones – like joy in a passion. I was thinking about that: that my MC needs a passion. She might already have it but I need to bring it out more and understand why it’s her passion.
The thing that helps the most in this whole process is when I can visualize my characters. Last year, I scoured the Internet, looking for pictures of people who fit what I thought my characters looked like. Scrivener is fantastic for that since you can save pictures to a character’s profile within your main novel’s file. I found a couple of different girls who fit my MC. One of them fits her for looks and something in her eyes and smile – she looks like she has a strong, spunky personality. Another I saved for the expression on her face – it’s what I imagine my MC looks like in a key scene. I don’t feel like I nailed all my characters yet, but I think that’s because I haven’t finished fleshing them out. For now though, I at least know what they look like, even if my readers won’t share that vision.
Got 394 words written tonight.