As writers, especially romantic suspense and mystery writers, it is important that our characters come to life for our readers. A useful technique is to make a sketch of as many of the characters in the story as you can. Of course, it's normal to spend considerable time on your protagonists (including the villan), and a lot less on your secondary characters. Here are some tips to get your started.
A.) Use your computer, index cards, a notebook or journal to keep track of all the important aspects of your characters. Some people swear by collages, although I haven't tried one myself.
B.) Try to live just ONE day in the head of your protagonists. How would THEY react to the events going on around you? This is fun to do even if you just do it in your head. Unfortunately, people will still think you're spacey, nuts or in need of medication.
C.) Use ALL the senses to bring your characters alive. You should know: 1.) Appearance -- how they look 2.) Sound -- tone of voice, accent, how they laugh 3.) Smell -- does the heroine wear perfume, have a signature scent? Does the hero always wear that sexy aftershave? 4.) Touch -- can you feel the beard stubble under your fingers? Is the gun in his hand cool or hot? 5.) Taste -- the tang of a nectarine, the melting of chocolate on her tongue
D.) Don't forget to carefully explore and list the things that your characters feel passionate about.
F.) Even if you won't use most of it in the story, sketch a quick outline of the character's birth and important life circumstances. This will be the foundation for the emotional aspects of your characters.
One more tip: When you introduce a character -- reveal who they are slowly, like peeling away the skin from an onion. The more aspects and tidbits you can drop into the story about your characters will make them multi-dimensional, more interesting and infinitely more relatable.
So, who are some of your favorite and most memorable characters and why?