Somebody asked me how I develop characters, and Paperback Writer just did a little post on the topic over at her place. I know a lot of writers do character sheets, sketches, what have you.
More or less, when it comes to developing a new character--as I'm doing now, four of them, for Undertow, and so far only one of the bastards has told me his name (It's Jean Kroc, and he's a con... er... make that conjure man. He lives in two schoolbuses welded side by side. It's a double-wide schoolbus. Very classy. Now I just have to figure out what a schoolbus looks like in this city. Ah well, I know it floats. Oh, dammit, the city needs a name, too.)--what I need to know about him is what he wants on his tombstone, and what he's most frightened of.
And right there, I have a conflict. And out of little conflicts, mighty stories grow.
Physical descriptions help too. Not how the character looks, per se, but the words my subconscious picks in describing him.
That's a great thing to ask somebody, by the way. "What do you want on your tombstone?" Try that for an ice breaker at parties.
The next character I need to name is the woman. And she's trying to convince me her name is Moon. Really, you'd think she could do better than that.
I'm pretty sure it's a noun, though.
Via netcurmudgeon, High-capacity industrial shredders vs... everything.