When I started publishing my stories, I did not know the importance or usefulness of creating character profiles. Most characters were created on the fly, so mistakes were possible. Starting with my sixth book, I decided to do things differently. Whether or not it will work out, can only be seen once it is in stone.
Almost anyone can create a character on the fly, but it is not good if your main character or cast changes too quickly. How can one avoid this? The answer is character profiles. By writing down the basics of the characters traits and things, you have something to look at, as you create your story. This also helps when you want to make that character appear in other stories. It helps in this manner because you might not remember what your character looked like and it would take you a while to gather the data from the first book the character appeared. With a character profile, you can see how the character is supposed to look generally, then make necessary changes, like if he was older in the new story than when he first appeared. Character profile create a central place for character info, reducing need to look through other books to zero.
How much data should be in the character profile? This is all new to me, as it is to you, so I cannot say for sure, or even give particular recommendations, but I say to make it as long as it needs to be. The obvious thing is that if you do not have enough, you cannot build your character, unless you do it on the fly, but they might not be believable. According to what I read in my own research is that you should have enough to probably call your main cast your friends, even though they are fictional. This means that you know what they are like and will know more clearly know each character will react to situations. Having to little on characters can halt the story or make it so that you must think of things on the fly.
Character profiles can help reduce the need for a good memory and the need to look at previous works, as well as give you, as a writer, a good idea as to how a character will react. Character profiles do not have a minimum or maximum length, but places online suggest having them as detailed as they need to be to really know the character.
Do you think character profiles are helpful or do you think you should start creating them? Feel free to post a comment.