Here are my tips for creating characters for stories. I've been a veteran of the Roleplay section, which to me, is identical to stories, it's just multiple people add unknown variables and play it out. I've been writing character sheets for years, and people commend me on my forms, because they say that many of my characters can almost be visualized as real people within this world.
Here's my advice for these provided things:
Name: catchy and made up names can catch someone's eye, but other names, and especially if they are named after someone else, like having last names Rossi and Baggia (these were Catholic saints). But if you come up with a name from your head that has never been heard of, it has an effect on your audience to make them think your character is extraordinary because their names aren't ordinary. A couple of my own made up names are 'Aryn Nerevarine' or 'Auriel Galadriel Helseth'. (please dont steal them...)
Age: this can define your characters aspect greatly and seriiously effect how your character might react to plot twists in your story. Divorce of your character's parents, for example. Adult characters would accept it, knowing there was nothing they could do to make Mom and Dad happy. Children of elementary school age, may never understand why, and could greatly change their personality. The worst is for teenage characters, old enough to comprehend, but unable to accept, making it hard on the character. This also can greatly affect personality. This is a factor that cannot be overlooked.
Looks/Wearing: this is where you can set a character up as flat, or so realistic that your reader can almost picture him or her. Don't use pictures; describe your character. For looks, describe things like hair, eye color, skin tone, frame and physique, height, weight, and signs of age. Wearing, obviously is hoodies or trenchcoats, tshirts or sweaters, jeans or slacks, sneakers and boots. But remember; try not to make it simple! Go into detail! Don't just say 'long brown hair', describe the hair! How far in length does it go? What's a better description of the 'tone' of brown color? Is it buzzcut, short, long, straight, or curly? Is it unkempt, or neatly groomed? Hairspray or grease? Stuff like that. Because instead of 'medium long brown hair' can more easily visualized if you say 'auburn long brown hair, which is straight and unkempt, hanging freely from his/her head, but barely touches his/her shoulders and collarbone'. But don't stop there? What about a more distinct eye color, or a CHANGING eye color? White pale or neatly suntanned, gypsy's skin? Is your character thin, flexible and graceful, or big and muscular? Are her thighs thin, or well-toned? Hourglass waists? Thin delicate hands? What about clothes? Is her black trenchcoat dirty, tattered, shiny with silver metal decorations? Thigh high high heel stilettos, or plain white sneakers? The possibilities are endless, but this can really make or break your character.
Bio/personality: hmm... Anti-social recluse and goody two-shoes prodigy, or hearty and rough rebel? Look at people you know, best friends, and try to put their personalities into biographies; not the hobbies, but their traits, how they act around friends and strangers, what they often tend to do in ridiculous or life threatening situations. Intelligent, or challenged? Conservative or liberal? For personalities, how you describe your now visualized character and how he/she acts, will transfer them from 2D into 3D. As for Bio, you can get major brownie points for this. Maybe in a fantasy story, your character is a dragonslayer. Why is he/she a dragonslayer? Did a dragon kill your family, friends or burn his/her village? Or in a modern setting, where occupation, living space, relatives and dark secrets of the past matter. Was your character sheltered, or did they live freely? Were they a slave to heartbreak, or were they it's master? Maybe their family died, or your character had a traumatic experience. Explain!
Other: add anything your character has not been provided. Weapons, armor, or special trinkets, crushes, etc. Just add it here.
I hope this helps all of you. I've done my best to help you out...