1. Make a character study for each of your characters, defining the five traits discussed here: name, age, appearance, relationships and personality.
2. With a clean copy of your manuscript, get out a different colored highlighter for each character. Go through the manuscript one character at a time. Highlight whenever that character speaks and/or acts. If you try to do too many characters at the same time, shifting from one color to the other, I guarantee you will make a mistake at least once.
3. Now read only the dialogue and actions of one of those colors. Does everything your character says sound true to her? What about her actions? If not, rewrite the passages that seem forced.
4. Did you notice one character, or maybe several, who appear in the beginning but not in the end, or vice versa? If so, they probably aren’t necessary to your story. Try deleting them or perhaps combining them with another character.
Learn how to create strong characters, craft believable dialogue & get the attention of agents with:
The Writer’s Little Helper
Also check out these items from the Writer's Digest's collection:
Writer's Digest Elements Of Writing Fiction: Beginnings, Middles & Ends
Writer's Digest Elements Of Writing Fiction: Scene & Structure
Writer's Digest Elements Of Writing Fiction: Description
Writer's Digest Elements Of Writing Fiction: Characters & Viewpoint
Writer's Digest No More Rejections
Writer's Digest Weekly Planner
Writer's Digest How to Land a Literary Agent (On-Demand Webinar)
Writer's Digest Magazine One-Year Subscription
Writer's Digest 10 Years of Writer's Digest on CD: 2000-2009