I'm currently writing a novella for the '06 Spring Brides anthology. It's Charmaine's story--readers will remember her from His Secondhand Wife as well as from Sweet Annie. She is Annie's cousin who deserves the next too-good-to-be-true man to come along. I finally found him for her--and he's the last fellow anyone would expect her to fall for. I use a different tactic writing short for a novella, thinking lighthearted rather than angsty, and winding up conflict much sooner.
I usually have a visual of my characters, pictures on my bulletin board or wallpaper on my desktop. Jack Easton looks like Jack Sparrow, Johnny Depp's character in Pirates of the Carribean. Whenever I want to picture him, I shrink my Word program and gaze at my wallpaper. Oh my, those eyes.