One of the biggest challenges when writing fiction is coming up with compelling characters. You can have the most intriguing plot in the world, but without interesting characters playing them out, you’ll have a hard time making the reader care.
Two things are of paramount importance when creating characters: (1) they need to be interesting and (2) they need to fit within the framework of the story. The first is important to get your readers to care; the second, because the kind of people your characters are need to make sense within the plot.
Sometimes, a character will appear to you fully-formed. Most of the time, you’ll have to create it from scratch. To jumpstart your creation, it helps to identify a memorable characteristic you want them to have, such as an identifiable accent, problems with authority or a stylish way of dressing. Explore your character from that starting point, filling in the blanks with other characteristics that make sense.
Once you’ve identified who your character is now, establish his or her background. Where did this person grow up? Did he come up hard or did he live a charmed life? Giving your character a life lets you present her as a fuller, more complete person.
Flesh It Out
Flesh out the character as much as you can. Create a mental picture and put her in a world in your head, observing how she interacts with the world around her. You can even pretend to interview her to learn more. Do it until you’re sufficiently satisfied that you’ve created a living, breather individual that can come alive on paper.