Today I have started writing a new novel. It's tentatively titled Fangtooth.
Although everyone goes about writing in a different way, I'll go through the steps I'll be using.
I started plotting the story a couple of days ago. I haven't written a complete plot, just the bare bones including possible subplots. I've also skipped the first chapter and started writing the second chapter first. This is because my first chapter will need more technical information, so rather than wait until I've got the information to hand, I thought it best to crack on (also it stops me keep putting it off and spurs me to continue).
As I introduce a character into the story, I'll write a profile for my own notes. That way, I only have to refer to the notes when I want to know what that character's like. In this way, they won't step out of character so to speak. I'll give them quirks; phobias etc, to flesh them out and try to make them seem real. I give them a brief history, making (up) note of anything that might have happened to them that has shaped who they are now.
So far in the story, I have introduced a father called Bruce: After finding drugs in his teenage son's bedroom, Bruce decided to move away from the city to the coast. Through this action alone, I've got a feel for the character. I know that Bruce is family orientated and will do anything to protect his family (this probably stems from having lost his wife to cancer where he could do nothing to help).
Having written a couple of pages of the story, I sat down and fleshed out the character of Bruce, creating a short character profile to get me started. Now I can use this as a guide whenever Bruce is involved. Now that I know more about Bruce, I'll also go over what I have already written and add bits if required. The profile so far is like this:
Bruce Golden is 37 years old (although he looks younger) with a 16 year old son, Jack. Bruce likes to keep fit as best he can. He jogs and does a bit of weight training. Of medium build with short, choppy brown hair and blue eyes, he has a long face, and can be said to have a hangdog expression. After losing his wife to cancer, he will do anything to protect his son. He is organised and pleasant, but he is also slightly superstitious and carries good luck charms in his wallet. He can be slightly rash but will shy away from heated arguments as he doesn’t mix too well with other people. He runs a web design company from home.
It's only rough and will be added to, but it gives me guidelines to keep to at the moment, such as if Bruce came across a ladder, he would walk around it; if there are cracks in the pavement, he may decide to jump over them rather than chance his luck.
In this way, I can try to give Bruce a character of his own.