Very helpful, useful piece.
The prompt-list below has continued to evolve as I learn my craft. It looks more complicated than it is (a result of explanations and examples). In actual practice, I work off the list of headings with a few embedded questions.
For some prompts, a word or two is sufficient, while others require some contemplation. Unsurprisingly, I force my main characters to endure the entire process; incidental players get a pass with a mere smattering of detail, and everyone else falls somewhere in between.
Ultimately, I believe that this pre-work pays off, not only in character depth and overall story quality. To me, the process of writing flows with greater ease. My characters are immensely cooperative in telling their own stories when they know who…
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