Continuing my brainstorming theme, I’ve dredged the depths of my brain for questions to ask yourself about your characters. I don’t consider this list a comprehensive character questionnaire–those are useful tools, certainly, but whenever I try to fill one out I end up dissatisfied with the dry and often irrelevant nature of some of the questions. I’m calling these prompts instead, because you can cherry-pick the ones that seem best suited to your character; and you can answer them simply in one sentence if you like, but you could also delve deep and write up a whole study, if something inspires you.
(For space and simplicity, I’m going to use “they” pronouns in place of repeating “your character” endlessly.)
- Do they remember their dreams, and if so, what do they dream about?
- If they could change one decision made in their past, what would they do differently, and how would their life be changed by it?
- If they lost their home and belongings to a disaster (fire, tornado, etc.) where would they go? Who would they stay with, and why?
- What qualities do they value most in their friends and loved ones?
- Who in their family is most important to them, and why?
- What aspects of themselves do they try hardest to hide from others?
- If your character has a secret, who else in their life knows, and why are they trusted with it?
- What skill or hobby do they want to learn, but haven’t? And what has prevented them from learning it?
- What would motivate them to uproot themselves from their current life and start over elsewhere? Could something even do that?
- Under what circumstances would they commit a crime, and how serious a crime would it be?
Have fun poking and prodding at your darlings with these.