The first thing I do is take time getting to know my characters. I begin with the hero and heroine and then move toward the secondary characters. For naming my characters I like to scan through the "Character Naming Sourcebook" by Sherrilyn Kenyon. To determine my characters' personalities, I used "The Complete Writer's Guide to Heroes & Heroines" by Tami Cowden, Carol LaFever and Sue Viders. These two books are invaluable resources whether you write historical, contemporary, romance, women's fiction, mainstream, suspense, or science fiction.
The form below is my Character Sketch form that I use for my two main characters. I use the same format for secondary characters, but I will fill in less information and only the details that I feel are important to that character's role.
Age and/or DOB:
Relationship to Heroine