First off, speak to the dungeon master and fellow players about what you want from the game. A bloodletting dungeon crawl can mean a lower amount of roleplaying and more fighting, whereas a grand campaign with a huge narrative arc allows a huge amount of scope for really delving into a character and backstory. This will help set the mood with your group at an early stage and put everyone one the same level.
When it comes to creating a character, think about how much you want to be involved with the roleplaying aspect. To keep it simple, choose a race and class that appeal to you and put a little of your own personality there. Humans are always a good start as we know how they act already, but Elves and Dwarves aren't too dissimilar to play either. If you're looking to push your skills then races like Tieflings, Dragonborn and Goliaths can really open up your perspective. A good DM will have the world react differently to differing races and this can be really interesting to play.
In terms of a backstory always converse with the DM. The first thing is to understand the setting, which will then spark some ideas as to where your character fits in. Talk to the DM about your idea and they may be able to link you into the story even more which will immerse you even more. The more immersion, the better the roleplaying.
When you begin playing theres some things to remember. Every player will, or at least should, get time to shine. This can be from triumph in a battle getting the last hit on a renowned enemy to being the focus of a story arc in which you'll do a lot of talking and roleplaying. These moments are great for your character so really try to lose yourself in these moments. Likewise, if its a fellow players time the best thing you can do is to give them the time to shine. If they are nervous about roleplaying then you can help them get immersed. If its in the heat of a battle, you can try to set them up for a finishing blow, either by an ability or spell that can buff them or by flanking or aiding them to give them advantage. If its more character based with conversations with NPCs then just help them with little questions the player may be unsure of to ask, ask them questions that will then inspire them to talk more with the NPC's. Being a great roleplayer isn't just about playing a good character but about helping the players around you be better roleplayers too.
There will also be many times when you know things as a player but your character may not. I usually mention to the DM 'I know how to do something but I'm unsure my character will, can I roll a check to see if he does?' to see if the character will know, or quite often not even mention it. Your character will have a different variety of knowledge compared to you and this works in the opposite way too. The DM mentions something you know nothing about but think your character will? Ask your DM and hopefully they'll ask you to make an ability check. You might learn something new!
So there we have it! I'm learning all the time when I'm roleplaying so expect more thoughts on this tremendous aspect of gaming in the future, perhaps I'll be able to get other peoples thoughts too from fellow players and dungeon masters. If there are topics you'd like me to cover then please get in touch and I'll see what I can do, Don't forget my affiliate link with The Outpost above if you want to get some nice discounts from your tabletop gaming needs and I'll be back again soon with another blog post.