I am officially on summer vacation which means I'm home until after Labor Day. I started writing a post of what I'm looking forward to this summer but quickly realized I should break it up into a few posts. There's just too much! I decided to leave out the personal stuff which would be boring to most and concentrate on writing and reading.
#1 - Most definitely, working on my WIP. As of now it only has a working title of After, and about two and half written pages, but I'm using a completely different method than my usual minimal outline and write by the seat of my pants.
Although I put my writing on hold during my busy late winter, early spring months, I never stopped reading. And I read some terrific books (see right sidebar for 2012 books read). The books that I absolutely loved had one thing in common: well developed characters. I'm making it my mission to try and do the same with my novel. And so I'm doing a lot, A LOT, of prep work before diving into the writing. I want my characters to come to life in my readers' brains. I want readers to feel like they really know my characters. Physical description is important yes, but ultimately I think we visualize our own versions of characters. What's more important, imho, is what makes a character tick: her background, her likes and dislikes, his quirks, his hopes and fears, her friends, his talents and shortcomings, etc.
I'm not using character charts or questionaires at this point, though some authors swear by them. Instead I'm using a method which sort of presented itself to me. Music. I love music and it's always been important in my own life, especially while living through my teenage years and 20s. Lyrics, melodies, and tempos have carried me through the ups and downs of my life experiences. About nine months ago I was brainstorming in my head while driving. Hey Jude by the Beatles came on the radio. Immediately, I thought "Jude," perfect for my female main character. The hopeful lyrics lead to me visualizing this girl's emotional journey, and I wrote out a rough sketch of her story. Since then, about a half dozen other songs have triggered a feel for some of my other characters. It's wild! I never in a million years thought that I'd plan a novel through the feelings and visualizations that I experience while listening to these songs, but the truth is, my characters have begun to take shape. And it's exciting!
Another method I plan to utilize this time is storyboarding. I read a fantastic post on storyboarding by Mary Carroll Moore who blogs at How to Plan, Write and Develop a Book. Her video goes through the method step by step and I think my novel could really benefit by it.
Do you use music or create playlists to inspire you while writing? Have you used storyboarding to plot out your novels? If not, what's your favorite method if you have one?