|Faces and snapshot bios of some famous criminals|
incarcerated at Alcatraz. Hopefully your characters will be
more law-abiding than these guys!
To get started, I like Darcy Pattison's blog post on Fiction Notes. I sometimes use her strategy to begin, writing my character's description as a simile. From there, I'm looking at one of my favorite craft books, Creating Characters Kids Will Love, by Elaine Marie Alphin. She suggests interviewing the character and gives two pages of sample questions. Years ago, I went to a workshop given by Richard Peck. He shared that he writes a first-person poem about all of his characters to get started.
There are a bazillion exercises to help develop characters. Can you write a simile about one of your characters following Pattison's advice? About about interviewing one of them? Better yet, have your character write you a pen pal letter, introducing him or herself.
You have five minutes.
Ready, set, GO!