Since I know that there are probably a billion different ways of going about it, I’m curious. What’s the first thing you do when an idea of a character comes to mind? How do you go about naming them? How do you avoid Mary Sues or Gary Stues? And lastly, how do you develop your characters (primary and secondary) throughout the story?
And since I posted this thread, I’ll go first

1. When I get an idea, I write it down as quickly as I can (whether on my phone or a piece of notebook paper). And as time goes on, he or she starts to come alive in my mind. I just keep adding and adding until I feel like I have enough to work with.
2. When naming a character, I try not to rely too much on the setting or plot. I keep them interesting and unique, but still appropriate. In other words, I let the name say something about the character, and not the other way around.
3. You’ve all of heard of the method of interviewing your characters in order for you to “dig deeper”? I tried that. Didn’t work. Instead I pretended someone was interviewing me about my character, and therefore I had to describe in my own words, what he or she was like. I found this much easier because, well, who doesn’t get excited about their own stories? I found myself really thinking about who they were while I was explaining to this (imaginary) person who expressed genuine interest in what I was writing.

Now, enough about me. I’d like to hear some of your thoughts.
--Elisa