Friday, July 19, 2013

22 Character Questions



Does your manuscript feature strong characters? Are they well developed? Are they properly motivated?

Ernest Miller Hemingway said: "When writing a novel a writer should create living people; people not characters. A character is a caricature."



Do the people in your story live?

Here is an exercise to help develop your characters. Cut and paste it into your word processing program and answer the questions for each of your characters. Build them and motivate them.

1. Character Name:
2. Five Adjectives to Describe Him:
3. Why is he in the story:
4. Five Physical Attributes:
5. How is he linked to other characters:
6. Could his role be combined with another character to simplify the story and complicate the characters:
7. At the beginning of the story, what does this character MOST believe:
8. At the end of the story, what does this character most believe:
9. At the beginning of the story, why is the main character most afraid of this character:
10. At the end of the story, what has the main character learned from this character:
11. What does this character want more than anything:
12. What three things stand in his way of getting what he most wants:
13. What choices does he make to overcome these obstacles:
14. Is his dialogue unique to him:
15. Are his actions unique to him:
16. Is he motivated in each scene by what he wants most:
17. What reasons does the reader have to hope for this character:
18. What are his strengths:
19. What are his weaknesses:
20. What's his innermost conflict:
21. What's the most outrageous thing he can do:
22. What can he say that the reader cannot:

These questions are a compilation of ideas I've accumulated over time in my research to become a better writer. They've come from great books like:

THE FIRE IN FICTION by Donald Maass
WRITING THE BREAKOUT NOVEL by Donald Maass
WRITING YA FICTION FOR DUMMIES by Deborah Halverson
THE STORY BOOK by David Baboulene
SAVE THE CAT by Blake Snyder

If you could add a question to the list above, what would it be?


5 comments:

  1. This is a good list. I do love that Hemingway quote.

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  2. I've seen quite a few list like this one. Interesting fact is every time I do one my character grows and changes just a little bit; for me, that is very cool.

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  3. Great list - I definitely consider questions like these as I'm working on a new character.

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