I have started a new book.  Or rather, I’m planning to start a new book that could be the gateway to a new series.  But something so grand as a series of books tends to require some careful planning.  Well, at least it does require some planning when I am writing the first book in the series.

But where do you begin when heading down such a road?

I always start with the main character.  I need to know the main character — her voice, her quirks, her habits, her fears, her failures, and her successes. I need to be comfortable with this character walking through my head, chatting when me at the oddest moments.

For me, the first step is the character sketch. There are a number of wonderful writing books focused on creating good, strong characters.  I begin with basic details: height, weight, hair color, eye color, scars, tattoos, style of clothes, job, education, family, and emotional hang-ups.

And then once I’ve got all those details down … It’s time to get into the nitty-gritty of this characters.

I start writing from the main character’s point of view about random things. I get the character to start rambling about anything in the world. I let them talk about friends, people that piss them off, things they love, and things they hate.  I’ve found that by allowing a character to ramble, you learn about a person’s psychological hang-up as well as bits and pieces of the world.  Are there vampires?  Does this character know about the vampires, werewolves, witches and more?  Friends? Enemies?

The important thing to remember is that these ramblings will never be seen by another person.  These write-up are notes that will be rough thoughts and ideas.  They are there for reference.  But the added bonus … you will likely find an idea for the opening scene.

But that’s for another day.  The important thing is to get to know your main character.  Knowing the character backward and forward before you start will help so much when it comes to writing the book.  When something horrible happens, you will instantly know exactly how your character is going to react and what their next action will be.