So, I'm thinking that if we have plot bunnies and marketing gorillas, we should have character squids. Squids, like the character descriptions, can sneak up on you. There are many, many different kinds of squids and all of them are complex and a little bit weird. And where plot bunnies can hop off in directions different from where we want or expect them to go, character squids can float in the water, waving their tentacles and making it really difficult for us to see what's what. In the end, if we're not careful, we'll just end up with a big inky mess.
This all came to me because yesterday, shortly after commenting on E's comment on my NaNo post, saying I want a shiny new story to write and how nice it would be if it popped fully formed into my head, I had an epiphany of sorts, and instantly got basics for two of the MCs for my NaNoWriMo story. Basic setting and plot elements started to form around these characters, and I now have six partially-to-mostly-formed characters of varying importance, a kick-ass (if I do say so myself) setting and general concept and a vague idea of where the story (or stories, as I'mna do three intertwining ones) is (are) going.
And I found that naming my characters really did help me pin them down. I was stuck for a long time between two very different names for my FMC and I couldn't work out her personality until I chose one.
Also, on the subject of genre, I decided not to bother with one at all for this story. It's going to be difficult to write because of the effed-up-ness of the setting and the characters and I can't even imagine what kind of genre it could try to fit into.
So, now of to bubbl.us to try to make sense of it all.