What’s in your (character’s) wallet?

When developing your characters, what steps do you take? Do you make a list or trust your memory? Do you stick to the list or let it grow as your character takes form?

Do you list out their physical characteristics? Do you have a list of their likes and dislikes?  Do you include their desires? Their goals? Their quirks? Their fears? Their strengths and weaknesses? Do your characters have secrets?

I’ve got a character file for each of my novels that deals with all of the above and more. If, say, while writing some dialog, it turns out my character has a strange way to turn a phrase, I’ll incude it on their notes.

When they interact with other characters, I include that in chapter order in an effort to maintain continuity.

Many moons ago, I blogged here about developing layered characters which prompted my friend to share a little tidbit that she uses while developing her characters:

What does your character carry around in his pocket?

Interesting, eh?  It does make me think about my character differently.

I carry things around in my pocket all the time.  Sometimes it is a seashell, sometimes a clear white crystal, a smooth metal coin with an angel on it, and sometimes a starfish.  These things hold special meaning for me and when I am thinking about certain things, these help me to keep focused.

So, what’s in your character’s pocket?

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