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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

16 Questions to Identify a Character’s Core

The following questions can help you discover the core needs, desires, and makeup of a character.

1. If your character died and were granted the ability to bring one object (and object specifically, not another being) from Earth, or whatever world he inhabits, with him into the afterlife, what would it be? Why would he choose that item?

2. What three events in your character’s life would he like to go back and redo? How would he change these events? And what unforeseen consequences would come of these changes?

3. Have your character describe his ideal mate. How does this imagined partner compare with anyone the character has been with, is with, or might be with in your story?  How does this answer differ from the person who really is best suited to them?

4. If your character had to commit a heinous act to save the person he loved most, what would it be? Why would he pick it? How would he feel after? How would he feel about that loved one’s reaction?

5. Describe your character’s heaven. Why would it be that way? What of it brings your character fulfillment?

6. What would a hell designed especially for your character look like? Why would these elements torment your character?

7. What would your character give up for the happiness or safety of another? Why? Who might this other be, and why would your character be willing to sacrifice for them?

8. What would drive your character to the height of selfishness? How would he express this selfishness? How would it make him feel?

9. What would drive your character to betray the person they most love? Why?

10. What would convince your character to forgive the person they most hate? Why?

11. What would drive your character to shelter their greatest enemy? Why?

12. What does your character most fear in old age? Why?

13. What does your character most fear his children doing or becoming? Why?

14. What sin could your character never forgive? Now, take this a step further: How could you drive your character to the point of committing that same sin? How could you convince him to forgive another for that sin? How could you convince him to forgive himself?

15. If on your character’s wedding day to his true love, someone from the future came to him and described how awful his life would become once he married his love, what would he do? Why?

16. How, when, where, and in whose company would your character prefer to die? Why?

Do you have any other questions to help deepen characterization?

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