A few days ago on the Write On! Forums, a question was posed: How much work do you put into creating characters? Although I answered on the forums, I thought it was a question I could go into so much more depth with. So:
When I first started out writing, I found a huge (like, five pages long) character template which I used to fill in for all my characters. It had so much (useless) detail to fill in, but I did it anyway, just in case I’d ever need it.
I’ve started getting slack in these past years however, and now I have it all in my head. Of course, I’ve been working with one protagonists and one set of characters, so the protagonist in particular has become almost real in my mind. If I need to know something about my protagonist, I don’t consult a character sheet or make it up. I ask her. (No, I’m not crazy. I swear she’s real, guys.)
As for basing characters off of people I know, I’ve never really done that. I’ve based their physical appearance off of people I know, but their personalities were created by me.
For the comments, how do you create characters? Do you use character outlines, or do you make it up as you go? Have you based a character off of someone you know? Physical appearance, or personality too? Let me know!