In much the same way I used Scrivener’s Setting Sketch template for my various locations, the Character Sketch template is useful for my cast of characters.
And until their ‘real’ names start to emerge, I’m also using dummy names for my characters.
For each location, I’ve nominally assigned a hostess. I know the Safari Supper system relies on couples and filling tables of six or eight. But for now, I’m assuming one (important) person per couple and will work in the minor characters later. I’ll also ensure no gender bias – and be politically correct in the process – by having at least one host, rather than hostess, cooking a course.
As some characters are so similar in name at this stage, I use the Duplicate option to speed things up.
I have yet to decide my plot so I cannot identify the murderer, or his/her victim(s), but I am beginning to bring together my cast – and that feels good.
On the issue of naming characters, crime author, Pauline Rowson, offers insights into how she does it. I like her suggestion of building a database of names – and avoiding names that start with the same letter.
I find the names – first and surname – don’t come to me until I start writing scenes. For a long time, while drafting Who Dunne It, I stuck to my nicknames for the characters: DEADMAN, WIFE1, WIFE2 and so on for ages. It helped me to leave them intact within my Research folder, even when I had replaced them within my manuscript. To me, Robert Ellis will always be DEADMAN.
Filling in the character sketch is a challenge! NaNoWriMo, within their Inspiration / NaNo Prep section (scroll down to #3) offers a character-building questionnaire comprising 46 questions (!), plus other material to help us, writers, to create interesting and believable characters.
Your turn! How is your novel preparation going? Have you set up your locations and characters yet?
Next week: Plotting?
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