100 Questions to Ask Your Character
Breathing life into the characters of the story you’re writing will require you to think as if you are in the characters’ shoes! In order to successfully do this, you need to ask character development questions that your character should answer.Conversation Starters 👇
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Writers and authors who are successful in making their characters relatable and seem like real life personalities all have one thing in common. They were all able to empathize with their characters and treated them as real human beings with unique emotions, personalities, decisions, and backgrounds.
Character Development Questions
One way to effectively develop your characters when writing the first drafts of your story or novel is by asking your characters various questions you would normally ask an actual living person in order to truly get to know the person.
By asking these character development questions, you’ll be able to know your characters! They might be a part of a fantasy but their personalities should be determined in order for you to write their voice and their fate in your story.
Explore the possibilities and capabilities of your characters in order to effectively write their perspectives and the plot of the entire story.
In the process of writing your story, you’d be surprised how much your characters blossom or they can also transform into someone you’ve never expected when you wrote your first draft. That is because characters develop and become an entirely unique fictional person as the story builds toward the ending.
For starters, you should ask the basic character questions like the characters’ full names and age. Aside from that, you can also add more questions regarding the following aspects of their lives as characters in your story:
1. Physical appearance! How do they look like? How do they walk?
2. Personality! Is she a nice person? Or does he seem arrogant?
3. Friends and family! How did they grow up? How was their parents’ life? Who is their oldest friend?
4. Past and Future! How was their childhood? What are their dreams?
5. Love! Who was their first love? How many heartbreaks did they survive so far?
6. Work, Education, and Hobbies! Everything about their school and work life. And how they spend their spare time.
You can then ask your character basically anything you’d ask someone you would like to get to know more than anyone else in the world. Imagine being able to ask anything about a person you just without restrictions and without ever worrying about overstepping your boundaries.
100 Original Character Questions
Here are the top 100 character questions that you should ask your character to get to know them better and make them come to life for the novel and story you are writing:
1. What is your character’s name?
Very important and basic, indeed.
2. What is your character’s nickname?
You can create a bit of a mouthful name for your character like Isabella Marie Swan and then just give her a short and fun nickname like Bella that the readers will easily remember.
3. How old is your character?
Not only physically but also mentally. You can create a character that’s still 16 years old but thinks like an adult who’s already 40!
4. What is your character’s gender/sexual orientation?
This should be established since it would influence the type of relationships that the character would engage himself/herself.
5. What is your character’s height and build?
Readers love to have a sort of visual on how the character looks like.
6. What is your character’s hair colour?
A character’s crowning glory is vital since there would be other characters looking at each character. Is he/she a blondie, brunette, or a redhead?
7. What is your character’s hair style?
Is their hair long or short, curly or straight?
8. What is your character’s eye color?
Most writers put emphasis on the eye colors of their characters especially if the eye color of a particular character would be an important part or reference in the story.
9. Which facial feature is most prominent?
In order to be more specific and to really create an image in your readers’ minds of the character, point this one out. Pointed nose? A mole on the cheek? A visible scar on the forehead?
10. Which bodily feature is most prominent?
Is the character slim, muscular, fat, or has an hourglass figure? Stuff like that.
11. What type of clothes does your character wear?
Make sure that his/her style matches the personality you’re going to give to him/her.
12. What is your character’s race/ethnicity?
This will have a great impact on how the other characters view your character and books that have a social issue embedded in the story will need this.
13. What words or phrases does the character overuse?
How each of your characters talk should have a trademark voice that the readers will be familiar with all throughout the story.
14. Is the character more of an optimist or pessimist?
This will definitely have an impact on the overall personality of the character.
15. Is the character more of an introvert or extrovert?
This will affect how she/he moves about and connects with other characters.
16. How do the characters see themselves?
You know the narration part in which the characters tell you what they’re thinking? This would be reflected in that part of the story.
17. How is the character seen by others?
Some stories have different POVs, you’ll be able to give the other characters’ opinions on each other.
18. What is your character’s strongest character trait?
Everyone has something they’re pretty decent at.
19. What is your character’s weakest character trait?
This could help in whatever conflicts you want the character to have.
20. Describe your characters’ family backgrounds.
Just like a real person’s family could affect the character and the story he/she is going to tell, so will a character’s.
21. Describe their acquaintances and friends.
How about the other people surrounding the character? What are they like?
22. Did the character have a happy childhood?
You can follow it up with a Why/why not?
23. Did they grow up rich or poor?
This question will affect how the character sees the world, his/her possessions and more.
24. Did they grow up nurtured or neglected?
Another question that could explain why the character is the way he/she is.
25. Does the character have any past/ present relationships?
How did they affect her?
26.What does she/he care about?
A character’s principles can be very influential on his/her entire personality.
27. What is your character obsessed with?
Your character must have favorites, likes and wants like a real human being would.
28. Is your character taken or single?
Make sure to mention this before you go about with the entire story. It’ll determine the fate of the character, too.
29. When did your character last have sex?
Or maybe she/he is still a virgin?
30. What sort of sex do they have?
In erotic novels like the Fift Shades Trilogy, Christian Grey was a Dominant. You can explore what pleasures your character and start from there.
31. Has your character ever been in love?
Make up a whole past about your character’s history when it comes to relationships. That would be a great way to determine if it’ll be better if she has a part or a present that’ll affect his/her disposition about love.
32. Was your character ever heart broken?
Same as the previous question, this will make or break your character’s take on love in general.
33. What is your character’s kryptonite?
What makes him/her vulnerable?
34. If your character could only save one thing from their burning house, what would it be?
Situational questions like this could also work and help you in forming the narration of your story.
35. How does your character perceive strangers?
Try to step into your characters’ shoes and look at the world through their eyes. What do you see?
36. What does your character love to hate?
To make your character a strong one, you can determine the answer to this.
37. What living person do they most despise?
Does your character have archenemies or rivals?
38. Has your character ever been bullied or teased?
This would be very important to ask if the story involves any scene or flashbacks in a school setting.
39. Where do your characters go when they’re angry?
Is there a secret hiding spot, a secret garden, a rooftop with a nice view or something?
40. Who are their enemies and why?
You must establish the reason behind the enmities your character has.
41. What is your character’s biggest fear?
A character’s fears can greatly affect his/her actions and decisions throughout the story.
42. What is the best thing that ever happened to the character?
Tell the happiest memories you’ve made up for your character.
43. What is the worst thing that happened to the character?
Also narrate the worst memories suffered by your character that have left a mark on him/her.
44. Is your character popular?
The way she/he carries himself/herself will be affected by this simple fact.
45. What are your character’s insecurities?
You can make the character focus on it and make it a cause for the conflict in the story.
46. Most embarrassing thing that ever happened to her?
Flashbacks of your character’s past can contain this memory.
47. What is your character’s biggest secret?
Are there any skeletons in your character’s closet? Try to find out.
48. What is your character’s biggest achievement so far?
It also adds color to the character if you tell what he/she is most proud of.
49. What is his/her current job?
The work that your character does is vital since he/she would be spending most of her hours at work, the entire plot will use the schedule of your character so it matters a lot.
50. What do they think about their current job?
Are they happy where they are or are they dying to quit?
51. Is your character good at his/her current job?
Emphasizing what your character is good at also helps in telling the readers her strengths in a subtle way.
52. What are your character’s hobbies?
Just like a normal person, your character must have stuff she/he likes to do.
53. What is your character’s educational background?
Is the character in elementary, junior high, senior high or in college? What is the character studying?
54. What is your character’s intelligence level?
This will affect how he/she talks and behaves, too.
55. Do they have a natural talent for something?
Maybe the character is a writer, a singer or an artist of some kind.
56. Do they play a sport?
And is the character any good?
57. What is the character’s socioeconomic status?
You can emphasize this by describing where they live and what his/her parents do for a living.
58. What is the most beautiful thing your character has ever seen?
This can be a very enchanting part that you can describe to your readers to make them feel what the character has felt.
59. What is the character’s favourite song?
There are some books that have their own soundtrack. You can use real songs so that the readers can connect to the character.
60. Is your character a lover of music, art, or literature?
It’s somehow more interesting for readers if you mention that the character loves any of these three because some who have the same interests can then relate.
61. What is the character’s favourite color?
If you like, you can make your character love a certain color and describe how he/she owns a lot of stuff with that color. It’ll be easier for the readers to visualize your character and his/her environment this way.
62. What is your character’s favorite food?
A lot of people love to eat so mentioning the character’s favorite food will make him/her relatable.
63. What is your character’s favorite work of art?
Maybe your character is very cultured and enjoys art. Make sure to be very creative in trying to describe the art your character loves.
64. What is your character’s favourite day of the week?
Is it Friday when school week is over? Is it Sundays and the feel of it?
65. What is on the bedside table of your character?
It also helps for you to know what is in the immediate environment of the character so that you can use it in your story.
66. What is in their car?
Everyone wants to know what’s inside their favorite character’s car because it kind of reflects their personality, too.
67. What is in their purse or wallet?
Some writers try to figure this one out since wallets usually contain pictures and valuables owned by the character.
68. What is their most treasured possession?
Knowing a character’s most important stuff kind of creates an emotional connection between them and the readers.
69. Do they believe in the afterlife?
This will be manifested in their choice of words, reaction and behaviour, too.
70. What are their religious views?
A lot of authors avoid talking about religion all together but it pays to know for yourself what your character thinks at least.
71. What does your character think of heaven?
You can include this in your narration and be very descriptive about it.
72. What does your character think of hell?
Maybe not as descriptive as heaven if your story is a feel-good one but can just subtly touch the topic.
73. Is the character superstitious?
You can talk about what the character believes in and to what extent he/she believes.
74. When did your character last lie?
Is he/she righteous and just?
75. When did the character last make a promise?
It’s also good to emphasize this to determine if your character is trustworthy or not.
76. What does the character think is the worst thing that can be done to a person?
Another question to determine a character’s principles and values.
77. What or who would your character dress up as for Halloween?
The choice of a Halloween costume might seem so mundane but it can really tell a lot about your character’s likes, personality and a whole new side you never knew existed.
78. Is the character comfortable with technology?
Is he/she part of the millennial who is super techie or someone who is old school?
79. If your character could save one person, who would it be?
The other character most important to your character tells a lot about him/her.
80. If your character could call one person for help, who would it be?
It will also help for you to know which other character cares for your character, it can help with the story plot and all.
81. What are your character’s strongest motivations?
Maybe they’re poor? Out for revenge?
82. What are your character’s hopes and dreams for the future?
This should be established because the whole plot revolves around the characters’ goals.
83. What are your character’s greatest strengths?
Is it their kindness? A talent? Their generosity?
84. What are your character’s greatest weaknesses?
It also pays to know this and focus on this when you try to introduce the conflict of your story.
85. What is your character like socially?
This could influence the way you write the conversations that your character engages in.
86. What is the character’s role in the story?
Every character has a role. There are the main characters or the protagonists and there are the bad guys or the antagonists.
87. What is the character’s connection to the overall storyline?
Before even finishing the story, the author should already have an initial evaluation of the fate of each character.
88. Your character is at a bar when the one person you don’t want to see walks in.
Who are they? How do you react?
89. How would your character react if he/she was catcalled?
Would your character get angry or just ignore them?
90. How would your character react if he/she saw a friend who owes him/her money spending frivolously?
Would your character confront the person or just leave them alone?
91. The character’s friends are speaking unfairly about a mutual friend.
Does he/she speak up or just leave them alone?
92. How would your character react if he/she witnessed a victimless crime?
Is your character the type to get involved and fight for justice?
93. Who was the first person to break your character’s heart?
Broken hearted characters make for a wonderful story.
94. Who was the last person to make your character happy?
You can write about past loves, childhood memories or even happy coincidences that your character treasures.
95. What does your character think about in the shower?
It’s when the character closes his/her eyes and just feels the flow of the water when you can write about his reflections, plans, realizations.
96. Does the character stay up late or wake up early?
Is he/she a night owl or an early bird?
97. What does your character do if he/she can’t sleep?
Maybe find some snack, pray, write or stare blankly at the ceiling?
98. Who or what does the character turn to when he/she is upset?
You can mention his/her shopping tendencies, overeating tendencies, drug tolerance or anything that would match and explain why he/she is the way he/she is.
99. If your character could erase one movie from existence, what would it be?
You must be thoroughly knowledgeable of your character for you to know this.
100. What is the one word you would use to define him/her?
If you could find the perfect word, you’d be able to use it as a theme for the character’s personality throughout the novel/story.
What are some of your own character development questions that you ask yourself when it comes to writing the first drafts of your story? As the author, what do you think you need to know about the characters in order to breathe life into them?
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✍️ June 11, 2021