A Shady Character
How well do you get to know your characters before you start writing? For me, I usually get more of an idea of their situation rather than their personality. I honestly don't know much about my characters until I've finished the first draft. Then I can write them.
Oh, I've been through character workshops, tried exercises and filled out detailed character profiles, including suitable flaws. But once I start writing, all that changes and I end up will a fully formed person, that in almost no way reflects the original idea I had of them.
Secondary and background characters are even more elusive. I went through several edits of Dog Show Detective with a brooding and shy boy in the background, because I didn't know how to write him. Once I realised he was actually funny, then I found out he wasn't shy at all, but rather an extrovert.
I don't mind not knowing everything about my characters before the first draft is finished. Once their voice comes through, the rewrites are easy. I've just got to stop trying to think them so I can see them. How about you, do you need to know your characters well before writing them?
If you do, you can check out some posts I've written on how to create characters: