I've discovered a powerful new way to help writers bring our characters to life.
I'm just back from the wonderful Swanwick Writers' Summer School, where I've been teaching novel writing and having a fantastic time (many thanks to all who came on my course and everyone I met - a truly joyful bunch of people. It was a brilliant experience, a real highlight of my year.)
Apart from the teaching, I was also, somehow, lured into taking a part in the end of week play, a pantomime version of Romeo and Juliet -
I was Tybalt, escort of the lovely Juliet, played by the brilliant Cathy Grimmer. As you can see, we did our best to make it look passably Shakespearean and I tried to act to the best of my (limited) abilities.
Which involved getting into character, as both supportive cousin to Juliet and man of action -
Apart from having a great time, I learnt a big lesson on characterisation.
To really feel the person you're writing about, try imagining what they would wear in any situation, how they walk, their manner of talking, how they would react to a compliment, an insult, someone in need of help, all those everyday situations that continually arise.
Know the answers to those, and you're a long way to creating a vivid character. Even better - you can do all that and enjoy it too.
Learning and working by fun - just my kind of thing, and yet another of the many reasons for being a writer.