Having great characters is key in any story. They need to be relate-able, even if the reader reacts to them in anger, disgust, sympathy, or joy. But how does an author create great characters?
You need to make them dimensional. They need names, physical features, and personalities. They need to have some slight flaw since no one is perfect, and they need likes and dislikes, quirks and cares. These attributes make them real and believable. If your readers don’t believe in your characters, then your story, no matter how great, won’t work.
When I’m fleshing out a character, I’ll take a large index card or a piece of paper and start jotting down these things. Sometimes I’ll give him/her a catch phrase. Sometimes I’ll even sketch out a little picture so I can “see” the character. Writing these profiles are very helpful, especially when your story has multiple characters. You can always check your notes to remind yourself of exactly who this person is.
Contributed by Catherine L. Osornio