I recently hit a low point in my writing, I found out one of my main characters had no personality, gasp! So, I did something I swore I would never do, I filled out a couple of character questionnaires and voila, Jeremy suddenly had an awesome backstory that opened him up to some great character flaws. Now, the questionnaires I filled out were a little repetitive and didn’t give me much room to scratch down my answers, so I combined them and put one together that I plan to use in the future. If you are stuck or maybe just want to add a little more depth to your characters, give this a shot, you might be surprised what you come up with.
Outline of Questionnaire
A. First, we find out a little about where your character it at when your story begins (29 questions).
B. Second, we delve into your character’s parents and grandparents. This is important because what your character’s family has experienced will influence the type of person your protagonist is, and will become (4 questions, each with a set of sub-questions).
C. Third, we take a look at your character’s life. How were they growing up, did they have it good or was it total chaos? How many siblings did they have, did they like them? What were their goals and dreams and did they ever reach those goals? Answering these questions will make your character feel real and believable (12 questions, each with a set of sub-questions broken into age categories: childhood, teens, young adult, adult, midlife, and senior years).
D. After you’ve had a chance to reflect on these questions, I recommend you fill out the Character Flaw Worksheet I have provided. This one is much shorter, only 5 questions-without sub-questions.
Character Questionnaire PDF Version
Character Questionnaire Microsoft Word Version