Before embarking on your novel, there’s something else you should do besides outlining: write flash fiction. Whether it’s a scene you want in your novel or something completely random, write it.
Two reasons why:
It’s an excellent way to develop your characters.
Whenever I have a new idea that I love and want to turn into a novel, I write flash fiction about the characters. It helps in rounding out their personalities, discovering who they are, and the best part – exploring their relationships with the other characters.
It helps keep your characters’ backstories subtle in the actual novel.
In your novel, the characters’ backstories should be simmering in the background, not front and center. However, there’s no rule which says you can’t flesh out your character’s backstory via flash fiction, which I’ve done multiple times. I find it’s easier to keep my characters’ backstories in the novel’s background when I’ve already fleshed it out beforehand in flash fiction.
To sum it all up, flash fiction is by far the best way I’ve found to develop my characters and their respective backstories.
As a bonus, it’s fun to write, and you don’t necessarily need to write canon pieces. Go ahead and experiment with all those ideas flowing from your imagination. Then you can pick through them to find which ideas you like best for your novel.
Tell me your thoughts below!