Getting to know your characters through a character diary

beauty-354570_640There are at least as many different ways to create believable, interesting characters your readers can care about as there are good writers. In fact, after all the time I’ve spent running around looking for resources on character creation in the last couple of weeks, I suspect there might actually be more character creation and development exercises than there are writers–quality or otherwise.

One of my favourite ways to get intimately familiar with my characters is to create a character diary for them.

Here’s how it works:

Every day for a specified period of time–whether it’s a week, a month, or just until Nanowrimo starts–you write one page describing a normal day in your character’s life. This should be at some point shortly before your story begins, so you know you’re getting in touch with the character voice you’ll be using during Nanowrimo.

Pay special attention to how your character writes their journal. Is it simply a recording of the day’s events, or is the character trying to work through some kind of trauma? Do they just recite the facts, or do they embellish and go off on tangents?

How your character journals will tell you just as much about them as knowing what their daily routines are.

Have you ever written a character diary before? Why/why not?