6.30.05, Origins 2005, Origins Writing Program: "The Content of his Character"
Someone called it "Blitzkrieg Characterization." You take a quote or a sentence that defines the character. A quick summarization that gives the reader a quick feel for the person. Usually, use two positives and one negative or two negatives and one positive. This is a first impression, leaving your reader wanting to know more. "He goes to church and nods to the right people, but I wouldn’t trust him with the collection plate." Try doing this with random people, see what you can come up with.
Names: I have several "name generators," including a thin book of ethnic names. Keep encyclopedias handy and history books of places that you want your characters to be from or sound like they may be from. Also, watch TV. The Discovery Channel and History Channel have lots of programs that may be dedicated to a region you want to write about. Keep an eye on the credits. People have cool last names, too.
Book List – recommended and on my list
Character Sheet Rubric