Discovering your characters

A character questionnaire can ask (a lot of) deep, intimate questions. They’re useful for getting to know a character, but they may not help you figure out when that character might reveal such information. Or to whom.

  • Who is she willing to confide in? Who would she tell about her past relationships?
  • What kind of place is he in when he’s willing to share more personal details? Is it a coffee shop, a bar, a casual restaurant, or an upscale dining establishment?
  • Is she in a large group when she talks about herself, or does she prefer a small circle of people? Are they already close friends?

In my experience, another difficulty with these lists is that some questions can’t be answered until the story has further developed. Nevertheless, keeping questions in mind may not only inform future character decisions but can also lead a writer to consider other scenes, other conversations, other events that may not have happened otherwise.

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