Connecting and Developing Your Book Characters

Oh, how I wish I could say I had some sort of super power that allowed me to create such amazing, page-turning, stories.

But I don't.

I'm just a plain old human.

With my first book, (I'll call it Manuscript 1,) The characters didn't come to me as naturally as I wanted. I'd read other blogs where people said stuff like, "Yeah, sometimes I turn into my main character for a day." Or, "I could probably have full-blown conversations with my book characters forever." And I'm just like:

"What am I doing wrong here?!?"

I couldn't connect with my characters like I wanted to in M1. I could write down my ideas about them, but I never really felt them. With my new book, Unbroken, the writing process was totally different. I had just finished M1, and, already, I could hear the whispers of a different character. 
I heard her voice. It was magical. 
She was telling me her life story, and I was writing it down. We worked together, like a team, and I truly believe that it's an awesome storyline.

You might be asking, "What did you do differently?"

To be honest, I don't know if I can pin-point the exact reason of change, but I'll share a few tips with you anyway.

-1.) I didn't force my second manuscript to happen--it just kind of did. With M1, I was writing for myself, but with M2, I was writing for my characters. It was a gradual thing.

-2.) I tried my absolute best to capture every emotion of my main character. To me, she's real, and she really wanted me to tell her story in the same way that she would. This, in turn, added a strong voice to my novel. 

-3.) This next tip is weird--be warned--but, whenever I had major writer's block, I'd ask my character, "What would you do in this situation?" And if I got no reply, I'd ask again. I'd keep asking until I knew what  that next paragraph would be about. 

These three things, together, is how I finished my second novel. I didn't want to give up on my characters. I believed in them, and I wanted their stories to be heard. 

I'd love to hear your feedback. So, if you're a writer, tell me, how do you connect with your characters? Everyone's story is different! 

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