When I start a new book, I always do character profiles for the main characters. When I started The Flanagan Sisters I made sure I did all three sisters right at the beginning so I could be consistent with their personalities and appearance. The profiles are a few pages long but I thought I'd share some of Carly's with you.
I don't usually find images on the internet to represent my characters, and this works well for me because it means the cover designer has a lot of flexibility. I liked the image she found for the cover as it represents Carly not her persona of Carolina.
I start with a physical description.
Hair: Brown, curly hair that she can't control, shoulder length and she straightens it each day
Physical Build: She's short, and takes after her Spanish side.
Voice: has a slight Spanish cadence to it
Style of Dress: Always elegant, tailored clothes. She feels like she has an appearance to uphold.
Ethnicity: mother is Salvadoran, father is Irish
Then I expand into her background and family.
Job: CEO at Comunidad Software
Siblings: Bridget (27) and Zita (25)
Parents: Carmen and Brandan (deceased)
History: Born in El Salvador but moved to Houston at 8 after her father was killed. She was very shy and felt as if she didn't belong. Happy to spend time in the library by herself, and after she learnt to program, she spent her spare time coding. When she became successful she knew she had to portray herself as confident, so she used her full name Carolina, and dressed the way she felt she should - business suits and high heels.
Then I look at what she wants - her goal, motivation and conflict.
Goal: To be successful and support her family
Motivation: She promised her father she would look after her family and wants to repay her mother for moving them somewhere safe.
Conflict: She's not actually happy or living her own life
My actual character sheets are much longer than this and they can change throughout the story as I get to know my characters better. But this really helps me discover who my characters are and what they want.