There is no one way to do anything and in creating a characters there are a few ways to approach it. The 2 ways I am focusing on are developing all the details of who your characters from the beginning. SO this means going back in time before your story starts to figure out what shaped this person before everything began. I can see this being very valuable when writing a novel or a movie script because it lays the foundation for the story you are telling.
The other way would be snowballing. You define the character traits and then fill in the gaps as you go. I can see why this works for television because it keeps things wide open allowing you to take the character in different directions without limiting who and what they are. That’s not to say you can’t change your mind but that can sometimes lead to inconsistencies that you have to ignore or explain in story and that could pull someone out of the narrative if not done properly.
Trying to create my characters I am trying to use both techniques. I need to understand who these people are before the story starts, their motivations and personalities and the history I create provides that frame. What I am doing is not trying to know every little detail of their personal story but understand the relevant and defining beats of who they are. Keeping the detail to a minimum to be filled in later when the story calls for it, I hope this allows a strong foundation for each character to grow from as the story goes on.
I don’t want to limit myself but the more I thought about the more I realized that the limits give me the structure I need so I have an in-depth understanding of who my characters are, how they react and what shapes them at the start of the story. It is not just about their personality but giving them quirks and faults and understanding where they come from so that they feel like people not characters. Part of that will be in how they talk but I am no where close to getting to that, that is gonna be a bitch.
I have banged my head against the wall for weeks going back and forth and have already completely changed on character. Each day I am going to write one, until all my baseline characters have more than personalities but depth that will see them through whatever hell I am going to put them through in the story.
I hope I can do it, not sure but here goes nothing.