Collage. I do this for every book. Because I'm a visual learner, I find it invaluable to have a pictorial compilation of my characters. Lots of writers do collages, but here's my method. You'll need some printer paper, scissors, a glue stick, and some magazines.
- Step One: Flip through as many magazines as possible. I like TeenVogue, CosmoGirl, InStyle, and Lucky the best. I tear out anything that reminds me of any of the characters in this book. I do collages for all of the main characters and most of the secondary ones, so as I tear stuff out I divide into piles by character. The more I have to choose from the better. At a minimum I need something that will make a good background, a headshot or two of and actor or model who looks like the character, and some clothing and accessories they would own.
- Step Two: Build the collage. Start by gluing down a background image that fills up most of the page (this way you won't end up with whitespace left over at the end). Then select a few of the headshot and clothing images, trim them to just the desired element, and arrange them over the background. I always lay these out before I glue so I make sure they all fit. Then snip out the small pictures and accessories and stick them wherever they fit.
- Step Three: Finalize the collage with words. This usually requires flipping back through the magazines looking for two things. 1) Words that resonate with your characters. 2) Ransom-note-type letters that you can cut out and use to form your character's name. Sometimes I even outline the letters of the name in a silver Sharpie to make it stand out more.
I'm sensing some Lit Muse book club book ideas! And, I don't even care that this book is part of a series!