I've been thinking about characters this weekend. You know, what makes them so interesting. What kinds of things makes them sympathetic or not, what sets them apart from each other, and what makes them unforgettable.
I've done a lot of research on what makes a great character, and let me tell you it's tough. Sometimes I feel that I may never have any characters that anyone would want to read about, but when I open my WIP, I remember why I love mine. I spent a long time getting to know them before I even wrote one sentence. I read somewhere that making character sketches would help, so that's the first thing I did. Found lots of worksheets online, but I didn't really like them. So, I just opened my notebook to a clean sheet, wrote the name of the MC, and started writing everything I "knew" about her. Her appearance, her family life, her likes and dislikes, what she wants more than anything, what she fears, etc. I even went online and searched through google images for someone who resembled what I thought she looked like, printed out a copy and stapled it to my character sketch. If fact, I did this will all of the featured characters. I had a blast doing this. Now, I can actually see them when I write about them.
What do you do to develop your characters? Do you spend any time before writing figuring this out, or do you just start writing and figure out as you go?