Interview Your Character With These Thirty Questions!

I’ve always felt the best way to flesh out your character is to ask them questions and think up the answers. So here are some questions you can ask your character to bring them to life!

  1. What is your most embarrassing childhood memory?
  2. Favourite type of shoe?
  3. What’s one thing your (mother/father/significant family member) did that always annoyed you?
  4. What present would you hate to receive?
  5. If you were in an art museum, what kind of exhibit would you enjoy the most?
  6. What about yourself are you most ashamed of?
  7. Top 5 items on your grocery list?
  8. You’re on an airplane. Window seat, middle seat, aisle seat?
  9. What was your dream job when you were little? (Wizard, princess, etc)
  10. At what age did you stop believing in fairytales?
  11. Your best friend betrayed you. What did they do?
  12. What’s the one book you’ve been meaning to read for ages but haven’t?
  13. What superstitions do you believe in?
  14. Your house is broken into. How do you react?
  15. How do you nurse your wounds?
  16. What happens when you’re angry?
  17. What colour are your bedroom walls?
  18. Top 5 things in your bathroom cabinet?
  19. When did you last fail?
  20. How do you react when someone calls you out on a mistake?
  21. When was the last time you apologised?
  22. What’s a wasteful expense you don’t regret?
  23. What kind of music would Spotify recommend to you?
  24. Where were you the last time you laughed?
  25. What’s in your bag?
  26. Favourite drink? (Doesn’t have to be alcohol).
  27. A flavour that reminds you of home?
  28. Something you just don’t care about?
  29. If someone wanted to make you cry, what would they have to say?
  30. What sort of posters do you have on your wall?

How would your characters answer these questions? How similar or different would their answers be from yours? Let me know in the comments!

5 Comments

  1. I found it really hard to use most of these questions to shape character(s), I’m been trying to form while writing a short story.

    I see the intent, I know that asking questions will tell me about my characters the things that I didn’t know about them, but somehow it’s not clicking, the answers are not translating or are relevant to the story… or maybe I’m just not seeing it yet…

    Could you help? Maybe even form a character sketch by showing how answers to some of these questions might translate into that…?

    Like

    1. Thank you for pointing this out! I realise these sorts of lists can be confusing and seem pointless.

      But there’s real logic to it, I promise. (And now I want to write a blog post about this.) Anyway, let me give you an example:

      Q: Top 5 items on your grocery list?
      Ans: Nicolo would buy

      1. Cat toys for his cat, who he adores and dotes on because he is disabled and so is she (she’s declawed) and he has always felt a sort of empathy with her. So he absolutely spoils her, she’s his baby. [Also I know cat toys don’t necessarily count as groceries but I’m imagining this as a huge department store like Tesco or Big Bazaar something that has everything].

      2. Little cakes, because he just absolutely loves cakes. He has a sweet tooth though, and he’s trying to be healthy, so he’ll only allow himself one thing from the candy aisle and he’ll try his best not to overindulge. In that sense Nicolo is very, very controlled about how he treats himself. He doesn’t let himself get too emotional or fly off the handle, he doesn’t like or want to be spontaneous. He has strategies and plans and he isn’t comfortable deviating from them because in his experience, doing that has cost him badly.

      3. Dusters/cleaners because he has a breathing disorder and cannot tolerate dust. That’s why he keeps his surroundings very clean.

      4. Political/news magazines, just to keep abrest of things that are happening in his country. He has a political role in his country so he considers it his duty to be informed on many perspectives.

      5. Shoe polish, because he has nice shoes and people notice that about him.

      So the idea behind this is that every choice and decision he makes here is informed by his experiences, what he likes, what he dislikes, his role in society, etc. Nothing is in isolation. There’s a lot of informaton we can glean from this. First, that he is disabled and deeply empathises with his cat who is also disabled, which implies that he doesn’t feel that empathy and understanding from his friends/family. We know that he’s very controlled and particular about himself. He takes care of himself. He’s dutiful to his country, he works hard to learn about it, and he also has his indulgences (cake).

      These sorts of lists are designed to make you think of characters not just at a surface level but to question WHY they do what they do, and how that reveals something about WHO they are.

      Hope this helps 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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