After generating all the names for the main people in Toby's life, I came up with a bunch of background - all of this just came to me as I typed it into an IM to Matt. I think having the location and other basics already decided made all this detail very easy to come up with.
[aidan] I've decided my character grew up in Grand Rapids.
[aidan] So he's a Michigan boy.
[aidan] but the other side of Michigan.
[aidan] And that's where his folks still live.
[aidan] His sister lives in Chicago, and works in advertising.
[aidan] Toby works in the bookstore because he can have flexible enough hours to pick up his daughter after school, although he has to usually do one day in a weekend, which he hates.
[aidan] Toby and Joanna have been married 8 years, and have a relatively affordable mortgage on a 3-bed house in Ann Arbor.
[aidan] Toby drives an old blue Chevy Camaro that is half transport, half restoration project. In the winter, he drives an old Ford truck. He likes old cars. Joanna has a Prius.
[aidan] He is in reasonable shape - not superfit, but not overweight. Plays basketball once a week with the guys from work, and leads a fairly active life with his daugther: park trips, bike rides, etc.
[aidan] He has short dark curly hair with smatterings of grey, and is clean shaven.
[aidan] Joanna's hair is medium brown and straight. She has green eyes, Toby's are grey-blue.
[aidan] Katie looks like her mom
[aidan] He's pretty smart, but his wife is smarter (and Katie's smarter than both of them). He reads a lot, particularly history, politics, philosophy, American literature and the odd thriller.
[aidan] They both like to drink wine.
[aidan] They are both members of the Democrats, and the whole family will help out at political rallies, campaigns, etc.
[mj] Other important people. His boss. Other assistant managers?
[mj] lol, for later
[aidan] Heh, yeah. I'll add more in.
Part of the reason we're blogging all of this is to show how we are generating this character in a narrative way, how the story starts without any real role-playing, and to give everyone a feel for the main characters so that it becomes easy to follow along with the story once it starts.
I know Matt is busy working on story - I can see he has protected some pages on our internal wiki and filled them full of notes - so I expect once I've finished with rounding off this character, we'll be underway.