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In imagining fictional characters, both protagonists and antagonists, it is only natural for writers to draw on the characteristics of people they know—family, friends, coworkers, etc.—people liked or disliked. Character traits from different sources can create well rounded and original composite characters. However, there will be plenty of times when these characteristics are not enough, when you will want to create a character that resembles no one you know, a character with an illness or psychological disorder, perhaps, or a character that engages in criminal behaviour.
The Internet provides many useful resources for developing characters, such as sites that provide examples of character trait charts, that describe psychological disorders, or medical illnesses. If your character development includes a character with anger management issues, you'll find sites that discuss techniques for controlling anger.
Or perhaps your character development will focus on something more positive, and you'd like to create at least some inspiring fictional characters. If so, you'll find the Steve Pavlina site helpful and a wonderful source of ideas. Other character development tools include health forums, and forums for parents or couples with marital problems.
For help naming characters you might like to use the simple character name generator on this site, or consult a good baby names site. This one allows you to a name according to its meaning, which is particularly useful when you're naming characters. To learn what names were popular in any year since 1879, click here.
All the research resources below will assist in the creation of unique, well developed characters. If you find other sites you find particularly useful for character development, feel free to suggest them by sending me a note through the contact link at the end of the page.
You Tube - Search for motivational" or "inspiring." Any of the videos on You Tube will give you characterization ideas— hair colour, mannerisms, gestures, voice, etc.—as where else can you invite thousands of people into your room and turn them off and on at whim?