One of the easiest ways to come up with components to build characters is from a source that changes daily, the newspaper obituaries. This may sound morbid to some but you can't find a better source of dynamic character descriptions so easily accessible than the newspaper obituaries.
You get three sources of information in a very concise and localized format.
- Names - Coming up with unique names can be daunting. When you read the obituaries in a notebook have a page for first names and last names. Don't write them down together to avoid legal problems, but you will get a collection of first and last names you can mix and match in a few days.
- Physical descriptions - Most obituaries have photographs of the individuals both young and old. Use them and write small descriptions on what you see. The hair stile, the smile, facial structure.
- Backgrounds - Each entry has a small recap of the departed's life. Family, career, life achievements. In your journal make a list of the highlights and when you are designing your characters you have a list and a good starting point on how to give them a background.
A simple task using something as regular and obvious at your fingertips everyday can save you hours of brainstorming and researching later on.
Time to turn the page.