I’ve written an article on this site regarding the importance of character names. Since character names are important, make sure you are comfortable with the names you choose.
Creating a short bio of your main characters is a great place to develop complex personalities for them. Bios can serve as a reference when you forget the color of your hero’s eyes or the name of his brother. As I am constantly editing the novels I’ve written, these are details I tend to forget. If you become stuck on creating a bio, I’ve read where an author picks an astronomical sign and uses those characteristics for their character. I’ve never tried this, but it is seems like a good method.
Things your character bio should include:
- Personality (this should include any quirks or fears)
- Short and long term goals
- Moral, political, and religious stance
- Hobbies and habits
- Hopes and dreams
- Likes and dislikes
- External features (where do they live and work)
- Physical characteristics (eye color, physique, etc)
- Relatives (if they pertain to the story it is good to have names and short bios of them as well)
- Strengths and weaknesses (a realistic character has both)Your protagonist must have a goal and weaknesses to overcome, this is essential to writing a page-turning story, and this holds true for the hero and the heroine. The obstacles you put in their path should show the character traits that you have given them. Your protagonist has to have gone through adversity to come out of it changed for the better. This change should be obvious if you wish to create complex, empathetic characters your readers will still remember long after they finish the book. I’ve watched far too many movies lately where I didn’t care what happened to the characters. You don’t want this. Make your readers care about your characters.