My favorite tool for creating characters is my character binders. I got this idea when I started writing my first novel. I had scraps of ideas all over the place and knew I needed to organize it all.

I created binders and a BuJo for Characters

When Dandelion started to come together, I began writing a lot of backstories. Dee’s relationship with Aaron was complicated, messy, and deep-rooted. I found myself writing short snippets of their life together, before Katie, after Katie, when they were friends, when they did drugs, all of it. I had created their Pinterest boards and playlist (more on that later). When I started writing my first novel, I had created small folders for each of the characters to house their material. I went to the dollar store and bought each character in Dandelion their own three-ringed binder. I curated their Pinterest boards down to material to print, backstory, and other information. In the beginning stages of writing these binders were constantly open, on the floor, on the desk, with me everywhere.

They became an extension of the story.

I made personal files about each of them. Their full name, the meaning of their name, age, graduation date, favorites, height, and weight, I did it all. I found fun questioners to fill out about each of them and took weeks to think on and make sure they were filled out true to each character.

In Dandelion’s binder, I have a lot of information on drugs and alcohol that I would reference. Cadmus and September have pages on their parents and other family members. Mel’s has the plans for his house. Each binder takes on the uniqueness of each character housed in its pages. I have recently had a backstory on Mel percolating in my mind, I need to write it, print it, and stick it in the binder for future reference. Any tool you can find to get your mind engaged with each character will help you to create a rich life for them. What do they love to eat? What can they never live without? What would make them break a habit? Curiosity for their lives will help you to round them out.

What is a favorite tidbit about one of your favorite characters?