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Character Creation
I was just wanting to get a few different viewpoints on how to create characters.
The way I do it is, usually I base my main character's personality to that of a family member's personality or friend's. The reason I do that is so I have a good feel for what my characters will do or say in certain situations. Well enough of my stratedgy, please share yours.
Start off basing it off someone you know, and start building a history and slowly mold the character into something of it's own, you could mix the personalities of many other people and so on into the character.
I find if I can mentally "cast" an actor, I have a much easier time writing dialog. This isn't some mystical "otherkin" BS, it just makes rereading things in my head go much easier.

Another things when coming up characters is using a roleplaying game character generation system (like GURPS). In GURPS, you start with 100 points, use them to give characters ratings in things like Strength, Willpower and so on (average rating is 10), Advantages and Disadvantages which cost points or give you free points, and then buy skills. It takes some time, but it's a good way of coming up with a balanced character.
I just tend to make them up off the top of my head, drawing traits from characters and people I've met in life. Then sometimes they are truely random, like Ellisa in Shattered Soul, I have no idea what led to her.

I usually just fill a role in the story with the basic kind of character who will fit that kind of role and tweak them from there to make them real. A thief will be nimble and quickfingered. From there, he may have a scar with an interesting story, a powerful reason for doing what he does, a soft spot for kitties, whatever. My characters become more real to me as the plot progresses because it's the reaction of various personalities to events that show what kind of person the character is.
Yes, I find it easier to cast my characters with a face of an actor or model of the sort. I also just throw in a secondary character to fill a void, but then before I realize it, I've made a whole history and future for that character. An annoying habit to say the least, but it works.
I generally take one strong concept (strong as in it sticks in my head) and try to create a character around it. Quotes, things I see which strike me as odd, strong images... Things like that.
A curious new style of making a character... I'm intrested, could you give a more insightful discruption as to how that works, Neptune(cool name by the way).
Well, while taking creative writing class, I was given a picture to write a story about. It was a picture of these children riding in a little wagon with a sail on it. It was a strange picture, but I most liked the one boy in the back who just seemed to be the most reserved in the picture. But of course, he wasn't completely reserved, because he was going to some magical place (at least, I thought so, since you could see a castle in the distance). So maybe he would be more of a mystical character, one who was quiet but wise. I created the characters from the way the children looked in the picture. =3
So you create characters out of studying pictures and such. A very good tactic, I'm exercising that a bit now with one of my mytholical stories in the makes, I find pictures of various people and animals then study it, to see what's going on in their heads.

I favor the tactic a lot while writing pre-existing characters such as Darth Vader/Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars. Studying Vader is a challege that can be done, because I mastered it. Lucky for me, I learned how to read body language in that as well.

One can learn many thing by just a picture. I'm glad others in the fanfiction world do so as well.