Saturday, September 3, 2011

September’s Saturday Character Questionnaire

As a writer, I know how sometimes it’s difficult to make your character into a real person.  We need to portray them as three dimensional, but they just aren’t coming alive.  And nobody wants a hero/heroine that’s flat and has no depth.  Well, never fear.  I found the mother of all character interviews!  That’s right.  This thing is 253 questions long.

So…I’ve broken it down into four posts.

Through the month of September, every Saturday I will post another section of this sixteen part character questionnaire.  This list was compiled by Anastasia V. Pergakis and with her permission I’m able to pass it along to you.

Part One
The Basics

  1. What is your name?
  2. Do you have any nicknames? If you do, who gave it to you and why?
  3. How old are you now?
  4. When were you born?
  5. Where do you call home now?
  6. To what social class do you belong?
  7. What is your eye color?
  8. What is your hair color?
  9. Do you have any distinguishing facial features?
  10. Do you have any birthmarks? Where are they?
  11. Do you have any scars? How did you get them?
  12. Do you have any tattoos or other markings? How and why did you get them?
  13. Do you have any allergies, diseases, or other physical weaknesses?
  14. Are you right or left handed?
  15. What does your voice sound like?
  16. How do you dress most of the time?
  17. How do you dress up?
  18. How do you dress down?
  19. What do you wear when you go to sleep?
  20. Do you wear any jewelry?
  21. What words and/or phrases do you use frequently?
  22. Do you have any quirks, strange mannerisms, annoying habits, or other defining characteristics?
  23. Do you have any bad habits? If so, what are they and how do you plan to get rid of them?
  24. Do you have a lifelong dream or aspiration?
  25. Do you own a car (or other form of transportation)? Why or why not? Describe it.
  26. What is your current state of mind?

Part Two

  1. How close are you to your family?
  2. Do you have a spouse or significant other? Describe them.
  3. Have you started your own family? Describe them if you do. If not, do you want to? Why or why not?
  4. Who was your father and what was he like?
  5. Who was your mother and what was she like?
  6. Who are you closest to in your family?
  7. Is there someone in your family you wish you were closer to?
  8. What was your parent’s marriage like?
  9. Did they remain married?  If not, how did that affect you? When did they split?
  10. Do you have any siblings? What are/were they like?
  11. What is the worst thing one of your siblings ever did to you?
  12. What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done to one of your siblings?
  13. When’s the last time you saw a member of your family? Where are they now?
  14. Did you meet any other family members? (Aunts, Uncles, etc) Describe them.

Part Three
Friends and Relationships with Others

  1. In general, how do you treat other people that you have just met?
  2. Does your treatment of people change depending on how well you know them and if so how?
  3. Who is the most important person in your life and why?
  4. Who is the person you respect the most and why?
  5. Who are your friends? Describe them.
  6. Do you have a best friend? Describe them.
  7. Who would you turn to if you were in desperate need of help?
  8. Do you trust anyone to protect you? Who and why?
  9. If you died or went missing, who would miss you?
  10. Who is the person you despise the most and why?
  11. Do you tend to argue with people or avoid conflict?
  12. Do you tend to take on leadership roles in social situations?
  13. Do you like interacting with large groups of people? Why or why not?
  14. Do you care what others think of you?
  15. What habit do others have that annoys you the most?
  16. What is the most important quality you look for in a friend?
  17. What do you most value in your friends?

Part Four
Growing Up (Childhood)

  1. Where were you born?
  2. Where did you grow up?
  3. How would you describe your childhood in general?
  4. What is your earliest memory?
  5. What is your fondest childhood memory?
  6. What is your worst childhood memory?
  7. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
  8. As a child, what were your favorite activities?
  9. As a child, what kinds of personality traits did you display?
  10. As a child, were you popular? Who were your friends and what were they like?
  11. As a child, what was your favorite toy?
  12. As a child, what was your favorite game to play?

Well, that does it for this installment of September’s Saturday Character Questionnaire.  Sit that hero or heroine down, pour them a cuppa and have fun getting to know them. 

Let me know how it goes!



Anonymous said...

Hi Charlene! Thanks for sharing this...Knowing a character inside and out puts the author on the inside, inside his/her characters skin, inside their head - these are great questions to do just that.
Have a wonderful weekend.

Christine Rains said...

Wow! What a big questionnaire! Sometimes these things do help with character development. Thank you for sharing. :)

Susan Gourley said...

Great list of questions. I have a questionnaire I already use but this one is more complete.

Charlene A. Wilson said...

Kay Dee- It does help to get to know the character better when they just aren't cooperating by "showing" themselves. Some of mine are so vivid they demand to be known. Lol. Others, I have to prod a bit.

Christine- It really is a big questionnaire. Lol. I don't know if I know myself enough to answer some of these questions much less a character!

Susan- I think Anastasia really went all out to dive into the character's psyche. The questions bring out everything! I've never used one like this either.