Creating the characters for my next story (the stage I'm currently at) is one of my favourite parts of the whole writing process.
I've realised that main reason I had such trouble with books 2 & 3 was that I was so eager to get writing, I didn't have a good grip on who my hero and heroine really were. I had no idea what motivated them or why they behaved the way they did and consequently fell into the schoolgirl error of trying to shoehorn them into the plot. With such dire intial results that both books had to be rethought and rewritten.
Now I hope I know a bit better. Which is why I spend days nailing down every tiny detail of their personalities, lives and backgrounds before launching in with the help of the character questionnaire in Kate Walker's 12 Point Guide to Writing Romance and this: The Enneagram Made Easy. Both make me add facets to my characters that I'd never think of and help keep their behaviour consistent.
Following the personality types set out by the enneagram, my new heroine is an 8 (Asserter - direct, independent, upholder of just causes) and my hero a 5 (Observer - analytical, self-contained, calm in a crisis). As I can already see the sparks flying I can't wait to get started on their story!
How do you build your characters?