Sometimes a daunting task when writing is getting to know your characters. Making them come alive, instead of just being a cardboard figure. I constantly study people when I'm out. I watch their facial expressions, body language, and speech patterns. Part of this comes from my psychology background and part of this comes from the fact that I am just naturally curious about what makes a person tick.
When I sit down to write a story I need to really know my characters beforehand. If I don't, I risk giving my readers a cardboard cut-out of my character or worse an unbelievable character. In a class I took titled "Writing The Great American Novel", which was taught by Dee Burks, I was given this form for interviewing my characters:
Style of Dress:
Doing this with each main character really helps me to get to know my character before I sit down to write.
How do you get to know your characters? Any tips on building that 3-D character as opposed to the cardboard cut-out?