Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Getting Intimate With Your Characters

If your characters are anything like mine, they will wake you up in the middle of night just to tell you what they think you should know. They'll tap you on the shoulder while you're having a conversation with someone else and whisper in your ear that they love the song that's on the radio. My characters have even been so bold as to walk into the bathroom and step into the shower with me just to let me know they hate the color pink!

We really can't blame them, you know. They want to be heard, and they have to go through us. If we get the details wrong, we're doing our characters a disservice. 

While I was working on my new work-in-progress, I realized there were too many things I didn't know about my main character. 

Through my years of online procrastination research, I had come across a few different 'Questions to ask your character' and had saved them on my computer's hard drive. So one night, I printed out the questions and sat down with my character. From four different lists, I chose the best 100 questions. The interview turned into a three-night session, but that's only because my character likes to ramble on and my hand kept cramping as I tried to keep up with her. 

I learned so much about my character, things I never would have known if I hadn't asked. Some of the questions are irrelevant to the story, but I think that knowing these things helped me see her in a new light, thereby anticipating what she would do in certain situations and why. 

Sure, I may have forgotten to ask a question or two, but I'm sure I'll learn more along the way. Hopefully, our little interview will cut down on the interruptions to my morning showers. 

Feel free to use my list for your characters. I'm sure you could use a little more sleep at night.

100 Questions for your Character

  1. What is your full name?
  2. What is your birthday?
  3. How old are you today?
  4. Where do you live?
  5. How many siblings do you have?
  6. Are you athletic?
  7. What is the most embarrassing moment of your life?
  8. What is your favorite food?
  9. What is your favorite drink?
  10. What is your favorite color?
  11. What is your favorite book?
  12. Do you like to read?
  13. What is your favorite TV show?
  14. Favorite song?
  15. Favorite movie?
  16. Favorite car?
  17. Favorite actor?
  18. Who do you love most in the world?
  19. Are you in a relationship?
  20. Do you have a crush on someone?
  21. What is your best friend's name?
  22. Do you have pets?
  23. Who do you look like?
  24. What color is your hair?
  25. Color eyes?
  26. What is your religion?
  27. If you could change one thing about you, what would that be?
  28. What is your favorite ice cream flavor?
  29. How many languages do you speak?
  30. Do you prefer showers or baths?
  31. Do you prefer the city or the country?
  32. What is/was your favorite subject in school?
  33. How would your friends describe you?
  34. What type of person are you?
  35. What do you do for fun?
  36. Have you ever broken a bone?
  37. What would be the house of your dreams?
  38. What does your name mean? Is it appropriate for you?
  39. What do you value most in a person?
  40. Where would you like to live?
  41. Do you want to get married?
  42. Do you want to have kids?
  43. What do you hate most in a person?
  44. Where would your dream vacation be?
  45. What is your favorite animal?
  46. Do you have any phobias?
  47. Do you believe in God?
  48. Do you believe in heaven?
  49. Do you believe in hell?
  50. Are you an early riser?
  51. What was the most exciting moment of your life?
  52. What was the most frightening moment of your life?
  53. What book would you recommend for others to read?
  54. Do you have allergies?
  55. What is your best physical feature?
  56. Have you ever had your heart broken?
  57. Are you superstitious?
  58. Where do you see yourself in ten years?
  59. When was the last time you cried?
  60. If you were another person, would you be friends with you?
  61. Are you sarcastic?
  62. Have you ever had surgery?
  63. What is your favorite cereal?
  64. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off?
  65. Do you think you are strong?
  66. What is the first thing you notice about people?
  67. Red or pink?
  68. Who do you miss the most?
  69. What kind of music do you like?
  70. Favorite smell?
  71. Summer or winter?
  72. Hugs or kisses?
  73. Favorite sound?
  74. Farthest from home?
  75. Special talent?
  76. Do you like to cook?
  77. Favorite sport?
  78. House or an apartment?
  79. Have you ever met a famous person?
  80. Hobbies?
  81. What is your idea of the perfect Sunday?
  82. What are you best at?
  83. Who do you respect the most?
  84. Who has had the most influence in your life?
  85. Would you like to be famous?
  86. Where do you spend most of your money?
  87. Worst habit?
  88. What are you wearing?
  89. Is there something you always carry? Why?
  90. What do you fear the most?
  91. Do you wish? What for?
  92. Where would you like to visit?
  93. Would you hurt a friend to impress someone else?
  94. Do you have a secret?
  95. Do you have a weakness?
  96. Do you love your parents?
  97. Which parent is your favorite?
  98. Have you ever been bullied?
  99. If you could have a superpower for one day, what would it be and what would you do with it?
  100. What do you want most in life?