Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Character Ques

It’s often been said that character is plot. To know your character is to get him or her moving in your story and to suck your readers in to find out what happens to the person you’ve created.

Beyond the basic checklists often created to help develop particular demographic information, writers need to add details of the person to create more of a window into the character’s psyche. Going beyond generic traits into more personal nuances of the character provides readers with more depth of his depiction and enriches the story, regardless of how much of the character’s personal details are revealed to the reader.

Here are some questions to help encourage your character to reveal more personal information about himself/herself.

1. What would your character say if she suspected someone had just lied to her?

a. "That’s a pile of horse manure."
b. "Bullshit!"
c. "Liar!"
d. "You know that’s not true."
e. "Are you sure you’ve got your facts straight?"
f. "You don’t say?"
g. ?

2. Your character always laughs at:

a. slapstick comedy
b. sarcasm
c. dirty jokes
d. Monty Python movies
e. his own shortcomings
f. others’ misfortunes
g. ?

3. Your character most respects:

a. A parent
b. A personal friend
c. Princess Diana
d. Michael Jordon
e. Oprah Winfrey
f. The Pope
g. ?

4. What sort of movies does your character watch?

a. romantic comedies
b. horror movies
c. action thrillers
d. documentaries
e. porn
f. anything made before 1965
g. ?

5. Your character most closely resembles:

a. her parent
b. her sibling
c. her best friend
d. the cable guy
e. her favorite movie star
f. an unpopular political figure
g. ?

6. How does your character celebrate New Year’s Eve?

a. by himself, with a case of his favorite beer
b. by himself, with a glass of milk
c. at his ex-lover’s house
d. at a lavish party with a hired escort
e. with his friends, hanging out at a log cabin
f. making love to his wife
g. ?

7. When taking a long road trip, your character prefers to be:

a. in the driver’s seat
b. in the passenger’s seat, navigating
c. in the passenger’s seat, daydreaming
d. in the back seat, sleeping
e. on a bus
f. hitchhiking
g. ?

8. What smell evokes the strongest memory for your character?

a. hospital antiseptic
b. warm chocolate chip cookies
c. Chanel #5
d. the week-old corpse he found in the basement
e. shoe polish
f. hot asphalt
g. ?

9. What’s the last piece of clothing your character bought for himself/herself?

a. an expensive suit/dress
b. cowboy boots
c. a terrycloth bathrobe
d. silk underwear
e. a rubber body suit
f. a ski mask
g. ?

10. What trivial fault is your character most ashamed of in herself?

a. an addiction to children’s aspirin
b. an ugly tattoo on her butt
c. an unpaid library fine
d. a fear of water
e. a speech impediment
f. stealing funds from a former employer
g. ?

What other questions/options would you add to help get to know your character?


Blogger Melissa Marsh said...

Fascinating questions! Thanks for these, Diane.

1:27 PM  

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