I don’t know about you, but when I meet someone new I always take mental notes on their mannerisms and what they say. First impressions are everything.
When a reader meets a character for the first time, how do you want them to feel about the character?
Should the reader love your character? Maybe they’re supposed to hate the character. Or maybe the character comes off sweet at first, but the reader slowly learns to dislike the character and vice versa.
There are many traits you can use to describe the personality and mannerisms of your characters.
–General traits (ambitious, dull, funny, witty, vain, etc.)
–Good/bad habits (social butterfly/anti-social, etc.)
–Hobbies (dancing, writing, loves playing games, etc.)
What kind of emotion does your character typically show? Is he or she cheery in the most dire situations or maybe they’re sad all the time.
What about their knowledge? Do they love learning? Have multiple degrees in various subjects? Do they love palm-reading or anything that has to do with animals?
Do they have any obsessions or quirks? Maybe they collect rocks or have random impulses.
How would any of those show in the first meeting of a new character?
How would your other characters react to meeting this person?
Of course, you can write away and see how the characters turn out on their own, but I always like to think it’s good to have at least three traits of every character figured out–two good, one bad.
These traits may change over time, but that just means your character is becoming more into their own.