Last week I promised to share my character questionnaire. When having trouble with getting into my character’s heads, I went looking for character questionnaires/interviews. I had trouble finding questionnaires to use that were not either too short for what I needed, too redundant, or too bogged down with irrelevant(if not absurd) questions. So, for my own sanity, I made up my own.
I prefer to split my questionnaire into two categories: The external, where I as the author fill out the questions, and the internal, where the questions are answered from the character’s point of view in their own words. The former I use to get a better grasp on the story and the what the character’s role in it is and the latter for better understanding the character him or herself, and hopefully to capture the character’s ‘voice’.
I suggest doing this for all characters that play a significant role(aka more than a brief scene or two) in the story, though it may not be necessary for you to answer every question to get to know your character. I hope that this helps you in your writing!
External(aka Author's P.O.V):
1. Hair color, eye color, height, build, age, birth order, scent?
2. Who is s/he?
3. Where has s/he lived?
4. What does s/he want (perceived need)?
5. What does s/he need (actual need)?
6. What is their obsession(justice, revenge, power, etc)?
7. Greatest fear(what do they believe is the worst thing that can happen) (what is really the worst thing that can happen)?
8. What lie does s/he tell themselves(and what caused him/her to start believing it)?
9. How is s/he different from others?
10. Quirks(that are relevant to/symbolizes something in the story)?
11. What, if any, special powers/abilities/knowledge does s/he have?
12. Character strengths?
13. Character flaws/weaknesses?
14. Logical or idealistic? Pessimist or optimist?
15. How does s/he sound? Bearing/Presence?
16. How do others generally react to him/her?
17. Morality level? Intelligence level? Self-confidence level?
18. Does s/he have a socially significant relative(past or present)? If so, what made/makes that relative significant and how does it affect others' treatment or expectations of him/her when that relationship is known? How does s/he respond?
Internal (aka Character's P.O.V):
1. How would you describe yourself?
2. Do you have any unusual physical traits, disabilities, or distinguishing marks?
3. You are forced to wait. What do you do to pass the time?
4. What are your pet peeves?
5. What hobbies, interests, and/or passions do you have? Are there any you keep a secret from others?
6. Do you have any addictions (edibles, drugs, shoes, etc)?
7. Do you have any pets? If so, what and what is your relationship with said pet(s) like?
8. Do you like children? Do you have or plan to have any?
9. What trait do you like least about yourself? Most?
10. Do you wish you were someone else? If so, anyone in particular and why?
11. Do you ever talk/sing to yourself when no one can hear?
12. Do you consider yourself happy? If not, why not?
13. What, if anything, makes you nostalgic?
14. What/who inspires you?
15. What is your greatest secret?
16. Someone wants to be just like you. How do you feel about it?
1. When you hear the word 'home' where do you think of first?
2. What does your main residence look like(inside and out)?
3. Describe your room/personal space.
4. What does your wardrobe/closet have in it?
5. What is in your pockets and/or purse right now?
6. Do you have a daily routine? How do you feel if it is interrupted?
7. Do you read? If so, what are you currently reading(subject/genre)? If not, why not?
8. What is your preferred way to have fun?
9. How do you like to relax?
10. You have to spend the night somewhere other than your usual residence. What happened and where do you go?
1. Are you an early bird or a night owl?
2. What is your favorite season and weather? Why?
3. Coffee, tea, or other(if other, what?)(and how do you take it)?
4. Favorite food/drink/smell/sight/sound/& texture? Least favorite?
5. Favorite holiday?
6. Do you celebrate birthdays? If so, how, if not, why?
7. Do you think emotions should be embraced or controlled?
8. Would you like to rule the world?
9. What is your weapon of choice?
10. Adventure comes knocking. Do you answer or ignore it?
1. What is your favorite memory?
2. What was your favorite childhood story?
3. What is the most important/useful thing your parents/guardian taught you?
4. What is your greatest treasure(possession)? Why and how did you get it?
5. Have you taken any important vows? If so, what?
6. What is your greatest regret and would you go back to change things if you could?
7. What was your first experience with death and how did it affect you?
8. What is the biggest and/or worst lie you ever told?
9. What is the hardest truth you've ever admitted(to yourself and/or someone else)?
10. Have you killed anyone? If so, why? If not, would you to save yourself or someone else?
11. What's the farthest from home you've ever been?
12. What was your proudest moment?
13. What was your most embarrassing moment?
14. What is the worst thing that ever happened to you?
1. Who raised you and what is your relationship with them like?
2. Who do you feel closest to?
3. Who do you love the most?
4. Who do you trust the most?
5. Who do you hate the most?
6. Who is/was your best friend?
7. Is there someone you would bring back from the dead if you could?
8. How would you feel and react if someone you knew, but weren't close to, suddenly started telling you about their tragic past?
9. An enemy tries to reconcile with you and claims to have changed their ways. Do you trust them and how do you respond?
10. Is there anyone you like(romantically or platonically) that you'd never admit to liking?
1. How many relationships have you been in?
2. Who was your first crush?
3. Who was your first kiss?
4. What do you find attractive in a person?
5. What traits are 'turn-offs' to you?
6. Do you believe in love?
7. If so, do you believe in love at first sight?
8. Do you believe love can last forever?
9. Do you have a significant other? If not, is there anyone you wish you were with?
10. What is the most important thing a romantic relationship needs to have in order to work/last?
11. What is your idea of the perfect date?
12. How do you feel about marriage?
13. What are your thoughts on arranged marriages?
MORALS & BELIEFS
1. Do you believe in morals? If so, how do decide what is or is not morally acceptable/desirable?
2. Do you believe in people having souls? If so, what do you believe yours would look like if removed from your body?
3. Does your world have religion(s)? If so, which(if any) do you follow and why?
4. How do you feel about the unknown?
5. What is more important, justice or the law?
6. Would you rather an innocent be imprisoned or a criminal go free?
7. What do you value more than anything else?
8. Die to save your honor or compromise your honor to save your life?
9. You catch a homeless child stealing from you. What do you do?
10. You come across an ally with non-lethal wounds and an enemy who is dying. Who do you help?
11. Who would you side with, a friend/family member doing great evil or an enemy doing great good?
12. How far will you go to save someone you love?
13. Would you sacrifice someone you love for a good enough cause?
14. If someone close to you asked you to kill them (they are dying from sickness/incurable injury or have become a monster and don't want to be) would you?
15. Just as you find the exit for the burning building your in, you hear someone shout for help. No one else is around and the building could collapse at any moment. What do you do?