On Friday, I felt confident enough to start writing bios for my main characters. I finished two out of three. I've done this for previous books, though it's been a number of years. I'm the only one who reads these, but I write them as formally as if I'm going to show them to someone else. It's a good exercise for me and often helps me fine tune a few details that were up in the air. Knowing who my characters are and where they come from also helps me eventually develop the book's detailed outline. The book will have some "actiony" plot and conflict, but the characters' personal experiences are a huge part of the plot as well.
My bios were about a thousand words each and were roughly divided into three sections. The first part explains who the character is--particularly in regard to what he/she does for a living. Remember, I write this as though I'm introducing the characters to someone who knows nothing about the world, so these roles I've created need explaining. The second part--the largest part--is the character's history, leading up to the start of the book. This is part of the "ice berg" mentioned in my last post. Readers don't need to know all this background at the start of the book. I like to dole it out slowly throughout a book or series (think of Georgina's flashbacks in the succubus series) and wrap it into the present plot, if possible. This helps develop the book's structure since usually, someone's past influences their present. The last section of my bio consists of the character's basic traits: looks, likes, personality, etc.
Once I finish the characters, writing out the world details will be my next step. (Note: this doesn't take place on another planet or anything. "World" is the usual writing term for the setting, circumstances, and rules of a book). That too will be written as though it's for someone who is completely new to it all. Working on these character bios has helped me with this because it reminds me which rules and background info I need to elaborate on. Although I do explain the characters' current vocations at the bios' beginnings, there are lots of references to the setting and its history that aren't delved into. That's what my world history will cover, and I've been making a list of points to add to that world write-up as I work on the bios.
But that section is yet to come. Today: more characters.