Know your characters

Don't spend half an hour going through your baby name book to pick out a name for your main character and call that character creation. You want to have a feel for what your character would do in most situations (though if you've created him well enough, one of these days you'll try to plug him into a scene and he'll look at you and say "I'm not doing that.") And even while you're angry with him, you'll be thrilled that he's real enough to stand up for himself.

And don't do a superb job of developing your main character and ignore everyone else. At barest minimum, you should feel that you have intimate knowledge of the two or three characters who take center stage in each of the first three or for scenes you've planned .

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