Every good character lives and breathes in his or her own fictional world and crosses the barrier of time, space and ink to reach outsiders and pull them into that world. For a character to successfully wield skills, magic and charm, be they friend or foe, fleshing out needs to occur. It's easier for some writers to do a complete sketch of their characters before ever writing one word of their novel. That's what I do. With them fleshed out, I can easily jump into the story and show who my characters are without having to explain anything. Here's a list of prompts you can use as a starting point for character makeup.
Race, Ethnicity, Nationality
Property, wardrobe, vehicle
World Views or Religious Beliefs
Hobbies and Interests
Significant Other/Relationship/Marital Status
Spends time with?
Wishes to spend time with?
Family members/relationships, ages, occupations, conflicts
Other Close Friends
How does he/she view his family, friends, boss/co-workers, employees?
How is he or she seen by others?
This is just a beginning list. Even if you never put most of these elements into the narrative or reveal them in dialogue, keeping them in mind when you're writing will help you think of your characters as real people and present them as such. But don't just fill in the answers and assume you're done. Delve deeper and find out the darkest, coolest, most fascinating aspects of your characters and make sure all that comes to the surface in your work. That's pure creative breath. That's what will make your work stand out and your characters unforgettable.
~ Signing off and sending out Cyber hugs.