Do you know who your characters are? Sure - they exist in your head, and you feel like you know them, but have you actually sat down and hashed out the finer details of who they are and how they see the world?
If you haven't listened to The Riff Raff podcast episode featuring Elizabeth Macneal, author of Sunday Times Bestseller, The Doll Factory, hop to it. In the interview, Elizabeth reveals that to get to know her characters she completed a character questionnaire. And, my friends...courtesy of Elizabeth herself, here is that very same questionnaire.
This is designed to reveal your characters to you, as well as to generate story ideas and tasty details that have yet to emerge. As you answer these questions, your characters will become more real.
So...grab yourself a cuppa and a fresh bit paper and get to work. You don't have to do it in one go. Feel free to mull it over and return to it another day. But, remember to have fun, go wild, allow new characters to emerge - who knows what wonderful details you will come up with!
Physical description (height, facial shape, hair, glasses, distinguishing features etc.)?
Typical clothing choices?
What is their home like?
Method of transportation?
Kind of education?
Do they have a profession?
Who is the love of their life?
Are they currently in love with anyone?
Are they content with life?
Do they have a best friend/confidant(e)?
How do they get on with their parents?
Siblings? Are they close?
Children? Ages, names?
Have they ever lost anyone important to them?
What is their speech like? Any distinguishing characteristics?
What is their biggest worry?
What is most important to them?
Is there anything they are frightened of?
Has their heart been broken? How?
If yes, are they over it now?
When were they happiest?
Where would they most like to visit?
Pets? What kind?
What do they most hate?
What are their obsessions?
What is their long-term goal in life?
What do they dream about?
Do they have any secrets?
Do they have a religion? Which?
Do they believe in life after death?
Was there a significant event that changed the course of their life?
What is their favourite colour?
What kind of music do they listen to?
What would they order at the bar?
Do they like to dance?
How well do they get on with other people?
What five characteristics would somebody who knew them well use to describe them?
In what ways are they like you?