Using NaNoWriMo's lesson plans (with many modifications since we're in the library), we've began our character building, pre-writing. Do you know who your main characters are, I mean, REALLY know who they are? What do they do for fun? What annoys them the most? What one thing in the world would motivate them to do something he/she would never do on their own? It's a lot more involved than looks, age, and name.
The students really like the idea of creating the three types of characters since most have only dealt with main characters. They are beginning to see the importance of supporting characters (and needing to know just as much about them to make them believable). Of course, most were even more excited to spend time writing about their villian(s). It will be interesting to see which type of villian they choose: the bully, person in authority, or enemy to battle against.
For my NaNoWriMo, the main character is a "just-turned-13" girl (the story begins on her birthday) who must make a life-altering decision by sundown when she'll blow out her birthday candles. (And it's not her life alone that will be affected by her decision, but the lives of everyone living in the valley.) Her supporting characters include her family, an ancestor's spirit, and friends and neighbors in the community. The villian? Herself. (No, she doesn't have a split personality. She simply has an internal battle with her wants/needs/wishes versus her conscience.)