I am a character-first kind of gal. If I'm reading a book with the most intricate, clever plot, but I don't feel like I know the characters, I probably won't get to the end of the story. I don't necessarily have to like the characters. I just have to know them.
Consequently, in my own writing, I can't start on a project until I have a good sense of who my main characters are. Once my MCs have been developed to feel like whole people, they influence all other aspects of the storytelling.
A few years ago, I took a class with Michael A. Stackpole where he outlined five different approaches to creating those whole-feeling characters, and since then, they've framed my characterization choices ever since. Having these methods in your back pocket will help you get in the right mindset when you start planning your next novel.
On the blog, you'll finds musings on writing craft, book reviews, and general updates on my work. If there are any topics you'd like me to cover, leave a comment!