The bedrock of all great novels are great characters, but great characters are not born, their crafted.
In this article, we will look at 100 questions you absolutely need to ask your character when you are developing your character worksheet.
Why is it important to interview your characters?
Before we get into the 100 questions you want to ask while interviewing your characters lets discuss why doing so is so important. I know a lot of writers are pantsers, and while I would definitely recommend outlining to improve your overall writing efficiency and limit moments of writer’s block.
But even if you are a committed and unrepentant Pantser, you would surely admit that having well-developed characters are crucial to any novel. Interviewing your characters prior to writing is a sure fire way to make sure they are well thought out and fully developed before you put pen to paper.
What is a Character Worksheet?
A character worksheet is a tool that an author uses as a template to help them develop their characters.
Think of the Character Worksheet as an exercise that forces you, the author, to ask all the questions that about your character that help to bring them to life as fully developed and well-rounded characters.
Later in this article, we will give you a 100 must ask interview questions to answer on your character worksheet.
What kind of Interview questions should you ask?
The short answer is that the more you know about your characters the better off you will be. You will have a clear path of how the characters will act and react throughout the novel. With that being said, I’m assuming most of you want to the deepest understanding of your character possible in the shortest possible time.
There are the fundamental topics we want to know about each character when you are developing a character worksheet:
- Basic Information
- Physical Description
- Family History
- Socio-Economic information
- Relation to other characters in the novel
- Mental outlook
- Interests and Favorites
Here are the 100 Questions to Ask Your Character when Developing Your Character Worksheet.
12 Basic Information Interview Questions
- What is the character’s first name?
- What is the character’s last name?
- What year was the character born and how old are they?
- Where does the character live: The country, State, City, Street?
- What is the character’s relationship status?
- What was the highest level of school that the character completed? Name of school?
- What was the character’s area of study?
- What languages does the character speak?
- Is the character currently employed? What do they do?
- What is the character’s income level?
- Sexual Orientation?
- What is the character’s nationality?
17 Physical Description Interview Questions
- How tall is the character?
- How much does the character weigh?
- What is your character’s Eye Color?
- What is your character’s Hair Color?
- What is your character’s Skin Color?
- What kind of physical build does your character have?
- Does your character have any tattoos or piercings?
- Does your character have any scars?
- How would you describe your character’s gait?
- Does your character have any physical disabilities?
- Is your character left handed or right handed?
- What kind of clothes does your character wear?
- What does your character’s voice sound like?
- What would you notice first when your character walks into the room?
- What is the size and shape of their nose?
- What does your character’s mouth look like?
- What is your character’s posture like?
11 Family History Interview Questions
- What are your character’s parents names?
- Are your character’s parents still alive?
- Does the character have siblings? What are their names? How old are they?
- Where does your character’s family live?
- Is there any other extended family that your character is close with?
- Has your character lost any family members?
- How close is your character’s family?
- Are there any health or disabilities in the family?
- What is the family’s financial status?
- Has anyone in the family had any problems with the law?
- Any deep-seeded family secrets?
7 Socio-Economic Interview Questions
- What is your character’s household income?
- How would the character describe their soci0-economic status?
- Does the character have any financial trouble?
- What is the character’s political leaning?
- Is the character’s happy with their current economic status?
- Is the character’s situation better or worse than the one he was born into?
- What are the character’s income goals?
14 Questions about Relation to Other Characters
- Who is your character’s best friend?
- Who is your character’s biggest enemy?
- Who does your character most admire?
- Who is your character’s biggest competition?
- Does your character cross path’s with any other characters at crucial moments in the story?
- How is your character viewed by others?
- What are your characters biggest memories of other characters in the story?
- Has your character had a falling out with anyone in the novel?
- Who does your character care most about?
- Who does your character hate?
- Who is most similar to your character?
- Who is the opposite of your character?
- Who does your character wish they had a relationship with?
- Is anyone working against your character?
13 Mental Outlook Questions for Your Character Interview
- How is the character’s current mental health?
- How would the character describe himself to others?
- Does the character have any mental health issues?
- How does the character view the world?
- Is the character a half full or half empty person?
- What is the character most proud of?
- What is your character biggest insecurities?
- What are your characters 3 biggest personality traits?
- Is your character an introvert or an extrovert?
- When is your character most happy?
- What makes your character sad?
- How well do they deal with stress?
- What if anything, would your character change about themselves?
11 Character Motivation Questions
- What motivates your character to get up in the morning?
- What does your character’s 5-year plan look like?
- What is your characters biggest desire?
- How does your character’s motivation drive the plot forward?
- Who is at biggest odds with what your character want’s most?
- Does your character fully understand their long-term potential?
- Are any of your character’s motivation based on false information?
- How does your character need to grow throughout the story?
- Does your character have any special skills?
- Does your character have any vices?
- Does your character have any addictions?
15 Interests & Favorites Interview Questions
- What is your character’s favorite game?
- What are your character’s favorite hobbies?
- What is your character’s favorite sports team?
- What is your character’s favorite book?
- What is your character’s favorite movie?
- What is your character’s favorite tv show?
- What is your character’s favorite food?
- What is your character’s favorite drink?
- What is your character’s favorite snack?
- What is your character’s favorite car?
- Who is your character’s favorite artist?
- Where does your character like to travel to?
- What is your character’s favorite color?
- What is your character’s favorite music?
- What is your character’s favorite celebrity?
Concluding your Character interview
I hope these questions help you create your character worksheet more easily. The thing to remember is that your character development interview is over when you feel like you have a full understanding of your character’s needs and desires.
I’ve provided the 100 questions to ask your character above, but if you feel like there is additional information that you need to know about your character, then add it to your character development worksheet.
Remember the work you put in now will help you write with greater consistency. If you answer the questions now, you can refer back to it and quickly know how your character will react in different situations by simply referring back to their development worksheet.
This will help you keep your story consistent as you write. Remember as the number of characters grows in your story, you may have a hard time remembering if someone’s eyes were green or blue, but you can simply look back and make sure it’s consistent.
This is really helpful if you are writing a series with multiple books, as you may have to return to characters that were originally introduced a long time ago, and you need to remember what their distinguishing features were to keep it consistent across the series.
I would suggest making a character development template in either word, scrivener, or whatever word processor you use so you can easily fill it out. This will help you finish your outlining and novel plotting much faster.
Thanks for Writing and Reading!