Brandon Sanderson, a SF/F writer most known for his Mistborn series and finishing the late Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time Series, is also a teacher at BYU.
The link brings you to a series of lectures recorded over a semester’s course. It is not Sanderson’s website, but a former student’s, Scott Ashton, who made the recording as a part of gaining his Masters.
There are actually two sets of lectures, one from 2012, the other 2013, but from different courses. Since Sanderson does teach both, expect some overlap on topics.
The site does not work well with IE, so if you don’t have/want to download Mozilla Firefox or Chrome, here is a link to the YouTube versions.
Back in November, or shortly before, I mentioned NaNoWriMo. They have a blog through Tumblr where they offer writing tips and advice. One post is a list of 46 questions to ask yourself about the various characters in your story.
Is all of it vital information? No.
Will all of these fun facts end up in your story? No.
Will it help you get a better understanding of your characters? Yes.
Will it help you understand that the characters existed before the events of the story and those previous experiences can effect and add colorful detail to the story’s plot? I certainly hope so.
Not sure what I mean by that last one? Check out Orson Scott Card’s Characters and Viewpoint. He discusses this idea in some detail.