Congratulations! You’ve completed the first part of your journey toward a completed novel. It was a heck of a lot of work, but it is all about to pay off.
From here on out, we’ll be drawing on material you’ve already created. What’s more, each step from this point forward is far less complicated, requires far less effort and is shorter to boot!
In this step, for example, we’re going to look for characters in the material you’ve already created. You don’t have to invent anything new. In fact, it is important that you don’t!
Read through your revised synopsis from Step 10 while asking yourself “who’s there?” Make a list of all the characters explicitly called for in your story, as it is worded.
To be clear, don’t list any characters you have in mind but didn’t actually spell out in your work – just the ones who actually appear in the text.
You may have given some of these characters names. Others, you may have described simply by their roles in the story, such as Mercenary, John's Wife, Village Idiot, etc.
If a character does not yet have a role, give them one as a place-holder that more or less describes what they do, who they are related to, or what their situation is.
If a character does not yet have a name, don’t hold yourself up trying to think of one now. Well have a whole step devoted to inventing interesting character names down the line.
For now, just list the characters actually spelled out specifically in your synopsis as it stands.
John - The Mercenary
Painless Pete - A Dentist
A Freelance Birdwatcher
Do NOT include any characters you have in mind but didn’t actually mention. Do NOT include any characters who may be inferred but aren’t actually identified. All those other characters will be dealt with in the next few steps.
So, get on with it and answer the burning question, “Who’s There?”
Excerpted from the book, Write Your Novel Step by Step