Two hours of writing fiction leaves this writer completely drained. For those two hours he has been in a different place with totally different people. -Roald Dahl
Whenever my husband has to ask me the same question ten times to get an answer, he usually just looks at our son and says-She must be in Brookhollow. I may be in the room, staring right at him even, but my mind is somewhere else completely. I think my son is actually starting to wonder who all of these people are that I talk about all the time as if they are real...with the problems they are facing...and better than average names lol:)
Some days I drive to work and I don't even know how I got there (thank God for muscle memory, I guess), but I do know how I will tie in the loose element that has been nagging me all morning or I'll have discovered the perfect opening or ending line to a scene that hadn't felt just right. I'm actually considering putting a sign in the back window of my truck that says 'Caution-writer on board'.
Then, for me, one of the best feelings of validation is when other people start talking about my characters or my settings as if they are real. And after seeing my storyboard of my fictional town of Brookhollow with the pictures of all the beautiful people I image when I write, they fully understand why I 'spend so much time there'. Another way I can tell that I've created a 'real' character is when I'll discuss plot points with my husband and he can point out what will or will not work, because it is 'out of character' lol. When an unromantic, I.T. guy cares enough about a fictional person to point out a possible discrepancy, I know I've created a good one. (Or more likely that I've MARRIED a good one.)
But I think immersing myself in the book as fully as I do, is what helps to create memorable, relatable characters. If I can create a place where I love to be, hopefully my readers will want to be there too:)