When I create characters I spend time thinking about their names, how they look, what motivates them, their strengths and their weaknesses. I observe the world around me and take 'snippets' of people to create new people. I wondered about other authors and their thoughts on characters and wanted to share this with you:
Dean Koontz - One dimensional characters do not engage the reader's empathy, and if the reader does not worry about what might happen to them, suspense is aborted.
Stephen King - It's dialogue that gives your cast their voices, and is crucial in defining their characters - only what people do tells us more about what they're like, and talk is sneaky: what people say often conveys their characters to others in ways of which they, the speakers, are completley unaware. Well crafted dialogue will indicate if a character is smart or dumb, honest or dishonest, amusing or an old sobersides.
Sidney Sheldon - When I begin a book, I start out with a character. I have no plot in mind. the character begets other characters and soon they begin to take over the novel and chart their own destinies.
W. Somerset Maugham - People are too elusive, too shadowy, to be copied; and they are also too incoherent and contradictory. The writer does not copy his originals; he takes what he wants from them, a few traits that have caught his attention, a turn of mind that has fired his imagination, and therefrom constructs his character.
How do you go about creating your characters?