So, how do you develop unique characters that readers will relate to? Do you create character sheets that list out everything from height to guilty pleasures? Do you just write and write and hope that the character develops as they react to different situations and stimuli in the story? Or do you interview them in a writing exercise? What are your methods?
Personally, I love to create a character reference sheet for each of my main characters before I ever start writing the story. I’m a big outliner, so I use the character sheets to not only list out individual physical features and emotional history, but also to explain each different perspective on the story and how the character fits into the plot. It’s not always an ideal system, and when the inevitable changes pop up as I’m writing, it’s annoying to go back through my character sheets and modify them–so I usually don’t. My character sheets are often incorrect after a few chapters, so they’re basically only useful as pre-writing exercises.
And, just for kicks, here’s a funny video about the MPDG (Manic Pixie Dream Girl) epidemic:
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