When do you come up with the ideas for your characters, up front or while you’re writing your manuscript? In the process of writing my mystery novel, I’ve cultivated my characters’ personality traits on the go. Their behavior, conflict, and rationale for doing things spring to life as I put words to paper. I think about where they’re from, how they were raised, ethnicity, background, family life, occupation, and lifestyle. Are they funny or really serious? Rich or poor? Well-liked or miserable to be around?