I should be writing Chapter X atm. But I want to record some feedback from my girlfriend who’s acting as my first editor. She noted that she was surprised at how well my dialogs flowed and how none of it required editing. I think it’s because when I’m writing dialog I’m living the characters. I don’t know how else to describe it. It’s actually exciting to write the dialogs and I don’t know why that is, either.
One technique I’ve continued to develop is the building of elaborate character profiles, even for characters in the backstory. I’ve spent a lot of time looking for real life photos of people to represent my characters. I find this immeasurably helpful, even though the character I end up creating may not exactly resemble the photos I’ve selected. And all of my characters are composites of multiple people I’ve been brewing up over the years. Even with those caveats, there’s something about having a photo that inspires my dialogs, and this little trick has become indispensable to my writing. I have well-over a hundred profiles, many of whom may always be backstory or deep backstory. But having them is part of my world building process. I’ll write more about this in the future.
When I began my research over a decade ago, I used Windows Explorer to build an elaborate catalog of file folders. At the time it seemed convenient, but once I began writing I realized the system was tedious. In the past year, I’ve fully transitioned to Microsoft OneNote. It has become my workbench. I’ve also started using Microsoft’s cloud, OneDrive, but my enthusiasm for the product is tepid because of a recent string of crippling defects. Anyway, OneNote is the home for all my writings and research.
Below is an example of a backstory character resting comfortably in the structure I’ve developed in OneNote. I really love this tool. Big kudos to Microsoft!
If Judith Blunt was an active character engaged in conversation, it would be relatively easy for me to shift my mental set and bring her to life, with her image guiding me. I’m sure other authors use this or similar techniques. But in this era, with tools like OneNote or any of the other similar tools, I’m sure this is helping to drive my novel. Nuff said.
I use this technique for settings also. And as long as I’m giving shoutouts to tool makers, here’s to Google Maps! Here’ an example: