Each character in the DoW series is a developed aspect of my own characteristics and struggles. Gwendolyn is my endurance, Silvia both my strength and my fears, Bridget my frustration, Jestin both my good-naturedness and my sorrow, Eleanor my internal struggle, Malcolm my heart, Zagan my temper... etc. When I write each character I imagine the aspect of myself that they portray and elaborate on it. I let the characters' actions be based on what would happen if I was fueled by a singular aspect of my personality rather than them all. If I let my anger and temper rule me- that would be the ruthlessness of Zagan. If I let my selfless kindness rule me- that would be the dedication of Gwendolyn...And so on and so forth.
I often lose track of time as I write, because I dont want to break my thought flow. The lives my characters live need to feel real- real life doesn't stop- so I don't want my stopping and restarting while writing to get into the story and diminish the authenticity of my characters. But! Because I strive so hard for authenticity, my characters end up with direction and opinion and plot different that what I intend. I always have a pretty good overall of how I want my books to unfold but, I swear, it's like the characters band together to change things as I write, and make the story totally different (and way better) than my original intentions. On top of authenticity, I always want vivid imagery and relatable challenges in my stories because that gives readers a grand stage on which to imagine what I've written. I want readers to continue the story themselves, wonder about the details of the personalities and lives of characters that I don't get the chance to cover. I want them to think they'd befriend a character if they were real. That's why I never cease to visualize and daydream about the lands and the characters I've created (even if all my thoughts don't make it into the books) because I want to understand the story from a reader's perspective and write to help them enjoy the story even more.