I've been busy planning Book 12, which is always an exciting stage of writing a book. Anything can happen, and there are a whole new set of characters to bring to life. But how do you take an idea for a character and make them feel real?
Visualising a character can help. Maybe there's an actor/actress you have in mind when you daydream about the movie or TV adaptation (we all do this, right? Even before we've started the first chapter?) or you could create a mood board on Pinterest. I've set up a board for my main character, Cleo to help me to pinpoint her style and personality (you can see Cleo's board here).
You can also interview your character, collecting info from the basics (full name, nicknames, date of birth, hair/eye colour etc) to physical features (scars, tattoos, birthmarks, do they wear glasses or contact lenses?) What kind of music do they listen to? What's their clothing style? You won't necessarily put all this information into your book but it helps you to build a bigger picture of the character.
There are loads of character questionnaires out there. Give it a google and find out what makes your characters tick!
Another technique I've started to use is giving my characters a career test. For The 12 Christmases of You & Me, I didn't know what Maisie did for a living, so I did a career test for her to find out. As well as giving suggestions for the kind of career she was suited for, I found it give me more of an insight into her personality. It made me think how she would answer the questions, so although I already knew what Cleo's job is, I used the career test to help me shape her character. You can find the career test I used here, or use our friend google again.