I have to know all about my character before I can write my story. I like to know what they look like, how they talk, think and act, what their family is like, who their friends – and enemies are. In a nutshell, I want to know what makes them tick. I think that it's the character that makes the story because different people react in different ways to situations, things that are a problem to one character aren't to another. So you can have the same scenario but would get a different story according to the character you're writing about.
If I can't think of a character for a story I look at some pictures and ask myself questions about them. Take a look at these characters, for example. What do you think their personalities are like? Where do they live? Who are their friends or enemies?
Then I try to place my character in a situation that might cause them a problem. Imagine if each of these three characters met a ghost. How would they react? Would they be frightened? I play around with the idea a bit, imagining all sorts of scenarios until I have a story plot that will work.
How about you? How do you get you work? Do you need to know your character first, your title, your story plot or do you just start writing and go with the flow?
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