A story will only be as strong as its characters. The best authors throughout history have managed to create characters that future generations have loved. This is no easy task and requires a high level of skill.
If a first-time writer is trying to come up with new fictional characters, there are several things they need to think about. There are a plethora of richly written characters to use as examples of how to write. They might each have their differences, but they share some qualities.
Readers must recognise things about themselves when they read about fictional characters. In some cases, they may live vicariously through the character. Sometimes the writer will make the role reasonably broad so that a mass audience can imagine themselves in their shoes. An excellent example of this is the Harry Potter books.
If the adventures of the character and their personality seem too unreal, then the writer has failed at their job. The reader needs to be able to imagine the figure actually exists. Making them believable can be very tricky and requires a fair amount of practice.
It is also crucial that the reader can both sympathise and empathise with the character. The hero needs to be likeable, and the villain needs to be someone that the reader will love to hate.
Once the character has been well established than their actions should be faithful to their motivations. In writing, this is known as consistency. If the writer is inconsistent, then readers will be frustrated by the things the character ends up doing.
A Clear Arc
The term character arc is used in fiction to describe the journey they go on. All good characters will have an arc. It should be exciting, fun and end with the character being a changed person.