I've never done this much prep work before actually starting writing before. I've spent hours with my notebook (outside - enjoying the beautiful weather we have been having) trying to truly develop my characters and understand them even before I start writing about them. I've found as I develop these characters, they are telling me their stories and suggesting plot lines as I go. That is the exciting part of this. The frustrating part is that I really, really, really want to start writing and I'm still not quite there yet.
One resource that has been helping me is A Writer's Guide to Fiction (Writer's Compass) by Elizabeth Lyon. She offers good suggestions for developing characters including psychological profiles and personality types etc. This story will have several more characters than my previous two, so I'm working extra hard to make them each unique individuals and to understand why they are the way they are. I'm sure there will be some tweaking once I finally start hammering out the story, but I feel good knowing that the general framework will be there.
Hopefully, I'll be able to start the actual writing soon.