A current commercial features a couple in a speed-dating situation. He pulls out all his favorite pick-up lines and she destroys him by quoting from his own Facebook page. The ad is cute and funny, but it always reminds me of a suggestion I included in "The Second Mouse Gets the Cheese." Before you write your book, get to know the characters in your book by speed dating them. Here are some of the questions I suggest you ask:
• What is your name? Does it have a special signiﬁcance to your family? Do you have a nickname?
• How old are you, and where were you born? Have you stayed in one location or moved around? And if you have moved, at what point in your life?
• What was your family like when you were growing up? Did you have brothers and sisters, and where do you fall, age-wise, in the list of your parents’ children? Are you still the responsible one because you were the oldest? Or are you the forgotten middle child, or the spoiled youngest one?
• Did you have pets as a child? If you could choose just one pet, would you turn out to be a cat-person (independent) or a dog-person (eager and friendly)?
• Do you have a large circle of companions, or only a couple of close friends? Have you moved in the same small circle all your life, or have you reached out to meet new people? And how do you choose your friends?
• What is your greatest strength? Your greatest weakness?
• What do you dream of doing? If you could be someone else, who would you choose?