Creating Captivating Characters

Creating characters that readers want to follow on novel length adventures can be tricky.  You might not find it difficult to invent the basic details of your characters like their appearances and names but where it can get tricky is creating your character’s backstory and life details because these are the details that inform your character’s decisions, habits, and nature.  These are the wonderful elements that turn your characters into people.

I came across a set of 45 questions designed to help you create fuller characters by Anita Riggio.  These questions will bring you to the core of your character very quickly and will guide you when you ask yourself how your character would respond to situations and other characters in your novel.  Answering each question fully and referring back to them will bring consistency throughout your writing but will also help you define how your character might need to change.  Take a look and enjoy.

 

  1. What do you know about this character now that s/he doesn’t yet know?
  2. What is this character’s greatest flaw?
  3. What do you know about this character that s/he would never admit?
  4. What is this character’s greatest asset?
  5. If this character could choose a different identity, who would s/he be?
  6. What music does this character sing to when no one else is around?
  7. In what or whom does this character have the greatest faith?
  8. What is this character’s favorite movie?
  9. Does this character have a favorite article of clothing? Favorite shoes?
  10. Does this character have a vice? Name it.
  11. Name this character’s favorite person (living or dead).
  12. What is this character’s secret wish?
  13. What is this character’s proudest achievement?
  14. Describe this character’s most embarrassing moment.
  15. What is this character’s deepest regret?
  16. What is this character’s greatest fear?
  17. Describe this character’s most devastating moment.
  18. What is this character’s greatest achievement?
  19. What is this character’s greatest hope?
  20. Does this character have an obsession? Name it.
  21. What is this character’s greatest disappointment?
  22. What is this character’s worst nightmare?
  23. Whom does this character most wish to please? Why?
  24. Describe this character’s mother.
  25. Describe this character’s father.
  26. If s/he had to choose, with whom would this character prefer to live?
  27. Where does this character fall in birth order? What effect does this have?
  28. Describe this character’s siblings or other close relatives.
  29. Describe this character’s bedroom. Include three cherished items.
  30. What is this character’s birth date? How does this character manifest traits of his/her astrological sign?
  31. If this character had to live in seclusion for six months, what six items would s/he bring?
  32. Why is this character angry?
  33. What calms this character?
  34. Describe a recurring dream or nightmare this character might have.
  35. List the choices (not circumstances) that led this character to his/her current predicament.
  36. List the circumstances over which this character has no control.
  37. What wakes this character in the middle of the night?
  38. How would a stranger describe this character?
  39. What does this character resolve to do differently every morning?
  40. Who depends on this character? Why?
  41. If this character knew s/he had exactly one month to live, what would s/he do?
  42. How would a dear friend or relative describe this character?
  43. What is this character’s most noticeable physical attribute?
  44. What is this character hiding from him/herself?
  45. Write one additional thing about your character.

© 2008 Anita Riggio

 

Thanks must go to Anita Riggio for compiling such a helpful list of questions.

Please follow the link to view the original article:

http://character-development.suite101.com/article.cfm/developing_memorable_characters

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Verity M

WRITER #Reading #Photography #Creativity #LifeDesign blogging on Lilolia. Van Gogh: "It is good to love many things, for therein lies strength..."

2 thoughts on “Creating Captivating Characters”

  1. My favorite character in “The Mandolin Case” was Indie Jenkins, a part Choctaw Indian who smoked and drank too much, but was a good doctor who cared about his people.

    His most embarrassing moment was when his wife caught him with that French foreign exchange student years ago. To his credit he was sorry and did right by his wife the rest of his life.

    Dr. B

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