Characters are essential to every story.
Sounds obvious, doesn’t it? But how many times have you heard the phrase ‘wooden characters’ when someone referred to a book they didn’t like? Personally, I can think of several books I’ve read to which I could attribute that phrase.
I have a top tip for all you budding writers out there: get yourself a character template. They are available from various sources. Try Google for starters and see how you get on.
The format is not really important. The key thing is to give you, the writer, a method of recording details about your character.
You’ll need to know basic things like name, age and appearance, of course. But you’ll create a much more realistic person if you think about the deeper aspects of their personality.
For example, your John Doe may well be a tall, dark and handsome eligible bachelor, but does he have a dark side? How does he deal with conflict in a relationship? Is he argumentative by nature? Does he have demons from his past that haunt him?
You may well choose to model a character on a real person you already know. If so, make sure you change the name to something completely different. Some people would be flattered if they appeared in your novel; others might take it in an entirely different light. No one needs a libel case when they’re trying to publish their debut novel!
Have fun creating!