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Character Questionnaire

 

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Lesson 4: The Character Questionnaire

Let's talk about the character questionnaire and how to use it. There are a lot of questions here, and it's not necessary to answer them all for every character--or even for your main character. You may want to copy and paste the whole questionnaire into a Word document. Then you can save a different version for each character you want to explore. For each character, go through the document and answer the most basic questions and the ones that seem the most relevant and revealing. You may feel more comfortable answering the questions about your character, or you may choose to answer in the character's voice. You may find yourself beginning in third person and then slipping into first. You may revisit the questions over time, continually adding more information about your character. If you like, add new questions as they occur to you.

Not everything you discover about your characters will find its way into your manuscript, but knowing them will deepen your understanding of your character and his or her motivations. You may even learn things that will spark ideas for subplots or sequels. And remember: there is no wrong way to use the questionnaire. If you come up with something that doesn't work, you can always go back and change it later as you learn more about the character. Even the best-intentioned of characters doesn't reveal his or her secrets all at once. Sometimes, they make us work for it.

 

Character Questionnaire

 

General Information:

Name:

Gender:

Height:

Weight/Build:

Hair color and style:

Eye color:

Distinguishing physical characteristics:

Distinguishing mannerisms:

Date of Birth:

Place of Birth:

Where I grew up:

Motherís name:

Fatherís name:

Name(s) of siblings:

Name of spouse/love interest:

Name(s) children:

Favorites:

Favorite color:

Favorite kind of music:

Favorite songs:

Favorite poems:

Favorite season:

Favorite holiday (and why):

Least favorite holiday (and why):

Feelings about holidays in general:

Feelings about New Yearís:

Feelings about Valentineís Day:

Feelings about St. Patrickís Day:

Feelings about Easter:

Feelings about Halloween:

Feelings about Thanksgiving:

Feelings about Christmas:

Favorite movies:

Favorite T.V. shows:

Favorite wild animal:

Favorite domestic animal:

If I had a pet, it would be:

My favorite alcoholic beverage is:

My favorite non-alcoholic beverage is:

My favorite meal is:

My favorite snack is:

My favorite dessert is:

My favorite fruit is:

My favorite vegetable is:

My favorite people are:

My least favorite people are:

I like to watch these sports:

I like to participate in these sports or exercises:

My favorite teams are:

My favorite newspaper cartoon is:

My favorite T.V. cartoon is:

My favorite manner of dress is:

Clothes are:

My signature scent:

My hobbies are:

I collect:

My occupation is:

My politics are:

My religion is:

I feel this about religion:

My social life:

My ideal mate:

An ideal date:

This is how I feel about sex:

Marriage:

Divorce:

A friend is:

Crowds:

Racism:

If money were no object:

If I had three wishes:

My country:

My greatest strengths are:

My greatest weaknesses are:

My greatest fears are:

I am also afraid of:

Itís hard for me to:

These things make me angry:

These things make me sad:

These things make me happy:

The most dangerous thing I ever did:

I felt heroic when:

I felt like a coward when:

My favorite possessions:

I trust these people:

My relationship with my mother:

My relationship with my father:

My relationship with my sibling(s):

Some scents that evoke positive emotions:

Some scents that evoke negative emotions:

These things are in my pockets / purse:

These are my favorite quotes:

Childhood:

My earliest memory:

My favorite toy as a child:

When I was a child, my mother:

When I was a child, my father:

When I was a child, my sibling(s):

My motherís cooking:

My fatherís cooking:

My mother always said:

My father always said:

My grandparents:

My extended family:

Pets I remember:

The house where I lived as a child:

My best friend when I was a child:

My first day of school:

My favorite elementary school teacher:

My least favorite elementary school teacher:

As a child, I liked to play:

As a child, I didnít get along with:

My best Halloween costume:

The best Christmas:

The worst Christmas:

My favorite T.V. shows:

My favorite movies:

My favorite books:

My favorite foods:

The best party I attended as a child:

The worst party I attended as a child:

When I was a child, religion:

In elementary school, I was this kind of student:

Junior High and High School Years:

Junior high school was:

My favorite junior high teacher was:

My least favorite junior high teacher was:

My first day of high school was:

My favorite subject in high school was:

My least favorite subject in high school was:

My favorite high school teacher was:

My least favorite high school teacher was:

In high school, I was involved in:

Sports:

Music I liked:

My extracurricular activities meant this to me:

The person who influenced me most in high school was:

My friends were:

My best friend was:

I didnít get along with:

My first date:

My girlfriends / boyfriends were:

I had an unrequited crush on:

My favorite books:

My favorite movies:

My favorite T.V. shows:

Religion:

A party I enjoyed:

A party I didnít enjoy:

I thought drugs were:

My most embarrassing moment was:

My best memories of high school are:

My worst memories of high school are:

When I was a teenager, my sibling(s):

I learned to drive when:

My first car:

Best and Worst:

The best thing I ever did for my mother:

The worst thing I ever did to my mother:

The best thing I ever did for my father:

The worst thing I ever did to my father:

The best thing I ever did for my sibling(s):

The worst thing I ever did to my sibling(s):

The best thing my mother ever did for me:

The worst thing my mother ever did to me:

The best thing my father ever did for me:

The worst thing my father ever did for me:

The best thing my sibling(s) ever did for me:

The worst thing my sibling(s) ever did for me:

The best thing anyone ever did for me:

The worst thing anyone ever did to me:

The best thing that ever happened to me:

The worst thing that ever happened to me:

The best day of my life:

The worst day of my life:

The worst decision I ever made:

The best decision I ever made:

College / University (if applicable)

College was:

My friends in college were:

In college, I liked:

I hated:

I dated:

Parties:

Studying:

Sports:

In college, I was involved in:

I majored in:

I earned this degree:

My favorite college professor was:

My least favorite college professor was:

The best thing that happened in college was:

The worst thing that happened in college was:

Love and Marriage:

I had the following serious romantic relationships as an adult:

I met my spouse / fiance / current love interest:

I knew I would marry my spouse / fiance when:

I knew I was in love with my spouse / fiance / current love interest when:

My friends thought / think my spouse / fiance / current love interest is/ was:

I proposed / was proposed to in this way:

My bachelor / bachelorette party was:

My wedding was:

The best wedding gift:

The best thing about my spouse / fiance / current love interest:

The worst thing about my spouse / fiance / current love interest:

Parenthood:

My / my spouseís pregnancy:

The day my child was born:

My child was:

The most important thing I can teach my child:

The best thing I can do for my child:

The best thing about being a parent is:

The worst thing about being a parent is:

Career:

My first job:

I had these jobs before my current position:

My work record:

My current job:

I chose my profession because:

If I lost my job:

The best thing about my job:

The worst thing about my job:

Quotes from Teachers, Friends, Family: