I've written a few middle grade and YA novels, each with its own set of characters. It's not always easy keeping them straight. So, when I revise a particular book, I really need to be able to connect with the characters in that book and not let characters from other books interrupt the party. Obviously, I don't want all of the characters to sound the same or act the same. They are unique individuals with their own quirks or demons or whatever. So, how do I get in the right mindset?
For me, I go into a quiet room and get familiar with the characters. This is especially important if I haven't been around them in a while. I need to hear their voices -- the cadence of their speech, the vocabulary they use, the way they trail off at the end of their sentences, etc. I need to see them -- the way, perhaps, her eyelids quiver when she talks or she habitually tucks her hair behind her right ear or bites her cuticles until they bleed.
I also keep a list of their traits so I can refer to them. For example, if Mags cracks her knuckles when she's nervous, I don't want to make a mistake and have A.J. doing that later in the book. The sheets help me keep things straight.
What works for you? If you are dealing with multiple characters in multiple books, how do you get in the right mindset when you go to work on that particular book? How do you keep them all straight. I'm always looking for great ways to improve the process.
Have a super writing week gang.