PK Hrezo has been running an excellent series of posts on characterization. You can find them here. If you haven't seen them, check them out. They are well worth the read. Her posts got me thinking about how I create my characters, and I decided to share that process with you.
I started playing Dungeons and Dragons with my Hubby and his (now mine, too) friends shortly after we met until well into out married years. The character creation for the game has stuck with me into my writing. You would roll dice and place the numbers in for your strength, intelligence, wisdom, dexterity, constitution, and charisma. Sometimes your roll determined the class and race of your character, sometimes you made them work for the class and race you want.
How does this relate to writing? Do I pull out my twenty sided dice and get rolling? (No, but that could be lots of fun to try sometime-- create a character for a story based on the rolls you make. Hmmm....)
Sorry- got off track there for a moment! No, I don't actually roll dice, but I think about the things that helped me build those characters I had so much fun playing.
First, I come up with a name (sometimes the physical description comes first). Then I decide their alignment (lawful good, neutral good, lawful evil, chaotic evil, etc), their class (fighter, ranger, thief, cleric, etc.), and sometimes subclass (paladin, rogue, bard, etc.) Next, I think about their strength, intelligence, wisdom, dexterity, constitution, and charisma.
Sometimes the order varies a bit, and sometime I don't think of all the things (dexterity and strength aren't always things I think of when creating my characters, unless I have a specific path planned for them, or specific task/class that relies heavily on these areas (I would think about dexterity with a thief-- how easy do they pick locks?)
Once I have these ideas for my characters, I am ready to start putting them into my setting. Which for me is what usually comes first. I have a setting I need specific types of characters for. Once they are developed, we are off and rolling.
How about you? How do you characterize?