Today is Sherlock Holmes birthday – time for tea and crumpets everyone (I don’t think Sherlock ever ate crumpets, but suggesting a round of the 7 percent solution seemed ill advised).
No, not the anniversary of the first publication of A Study in Scarlet.
I mean his actual birthday…if he were an actual person.
When I was writing Julia, I had to come up with actual birthdays for her and her sister because a document important to the plot listed them. If I hadn’t needed to show the document, I wouldn’t have come up with specific birthdays. I generally know how old my characters are, but I rarely bother with actual days.
I know some writers have journals dedicated to in-depth character details: favorite color, how they take their coffee, childhood pet and, I assume, birthday. I’ve tried writing these descriptions for several of my characters but that does nothing more than stall me. I then have to spend days considering if blue is really the appropriate color for a 15 year-old-boy to like or if it’s too expected…and I really have no idea if he prefers cream and sugar in his coffee or just coffee in his cream and sugar. If it doesn’t inform the story, I don’t bother with is…unless I’m looking to procrastinate (who me?).
So, it may not work for me, but I’m sure glad it works for some authors. Flavorwire has an annual calendar of fictional birthdays. I love it!
Did you find your favorite character on there?
What kind of details to you learn about your characters when you’re writing?