Originally posted at Dead Darlings.
Character profiles are great for first drafts. I fill out a ton of those for each character. I cast my characters with favorite TV and movie stars. I create playlists for each character. These profiles create character shells, but rarely do they ever help me create living, breathing characters with beating hearts.
Sometimes, to get at the heart of my characters, I have to do a lot of writing that never ends up in the manuscript. This type of writing often dissuades writers because it’s work that doesn’t seem to go anywhere or increase the word count. But it’s worth taking the time and effort to go “off-script” so your characters feel like living beings instead of a creation compiled of character sketches and previous novel drafts.