Don't expect the puppets of your mind to become the people of your story. If they are not realities in your own mind, there is no mysterious alchemy in ink and paper that will turn wooden figures into flesh and blood. --Leslie Gordon Barnard, Canadian short story writer, 1890-1961.
Over the years I've learned to cut pictures out of magazines to represent the characters in my story; created detailed character charts chronicling my characters' mannerisms, beliefs, histories; cobbled together the rules of my worlds and the power structures that dominate them. It helps. Now. At first I felt compelled to reveal everything in too-heavy dialogue or information dumps. I've gotten better. Now all that groundwork allows me to set the story and weave the other stuff in at the right time.
Then I start editing and find myself making all kinds of drastic changes to my manuscript. Turning a YA into a MG. Eliminating subplots. Getting rid of and combining characters. My story always seems to be changing. My challenge is nailing it down long enough to make across-the-board edits so everything sounds consistent.
What do you do to flesh out the "puppets of your mind" so they look, sound and act like real people? How do you go about revising your manuscript when you change your story so that all of your details relate to your new story and not your old one?
Kim Van Sickler