Before you start writing a story you should already have a cast of characters, some of which you had to completely fabricate. I have specific criteria that these characters must meet before I put them in a script. Do you? What’s in your list of qualities and faults they must possess?
Marty, I develop my characters, but not that much before I start writing. For the central ones, I have a general idea as to their personality and what they want, but I discover things about them as I go along. And I have to make up characters as I go along in order to fill out the plot. It’s like doing an outline or treatment, etc., if I did that I would never get to writing the screenplay. For characters, if I worked too much on them before I started writing, I would never write the screenplay. I don’t have a specific criteria before I put them in a script. But characters and dialog seem to be the easiest thing for me to write, it’s structure I have issues with.
Characters and dialogue come easily for me,too. Structure jyst comes naturally to me at this point. It’s a coming up with a good story that’s worth writing that I find the most challanging. When I do find one I beat out the whole story so I know where it’s going, and having developed characters with depth helps along the way with intertwining with the plot. I think we all have our favorite parts of writing, and our less than faves. I don’t particularly like all the preperation, but when I sit down to write, it’s fast and I’m at my best.
Once I have a good idea as to how the script is forming, which usually includes named characters, I do character biographies that will start with basics but will venture into detail to the point where they start to assume their own voice and identity based on questions that I literally ask the character. I’m amazed at some of the answers I end up getting. Probably not new to anyone here but it works for me.