Characters usually present themselves to me by name first. Once a name comes to mind, I start envisioning my character. I imagine their features, I hear their voices, I think about what their habits may be, how their minds think and countless other things. A great way to get to know your character is to set up a questionnaire. Below is a list of questions that may help you get to know your character better. Try asking your character these twenty questions and see if you discover anything new about them.

1. What is your age?

2. Do you have any siblings?

3. Are your parents alive? Are they married? Are they divorced?

4. If you were sent to a deserted island what three things would you take?

5. Do you have a hidden talent?

6. Do you have a habit you wish you could break?

7. What features do you like the most about yourself?

8. What feature do you dislike the most about yourself?

9. Do you have a hobby?

10. Do you have a guilty pleasure?

11. What kind of music do you like?

12. What is your biggest pet peeve?

13. What is your favorite food?

14. Do you have a passion and if so what?

15. Do you consider yourself and introvert or extrovert?

16. What is your idea of a perfect day?

17. Who is your favorite author?

18. What would the first thing be on your bucket list?

19. If I asked you to write an entry in your journal what would it be about?

20. Tell me something no one else knows about you?

Building a character is fun but takes time. Your reader needs to feel like they know the character intimately and in order for that to happen you must first know the character intimately. Why not give this list a shot and see what you come up with. Are there any questions that you ask that I haven’t listed? If so leave a comment and let me know. I’m always looking for new questions to ask my characters.



Filed under character, character building, Fiction, writer's life, writers, writing, Writing


  1. Excellent questions to ask, Maribeth. 🙂 I take my time building my characters. I want them to be as real as possible.

  2. I’m an experienced pro author (of science fiction) based in the UK, and I’m looking into setting up a creative writing course at a local arts centre focused on sf and fantasy. Are there any resources out there in book form or otherwise I might find useful in teaching about both science fiction/fantasy and creative writing in general?.

    • Maribeth

      Wow one year later I just now saw this comment from Thaddeus. Thaddeus if u r still around shoot me a reply and maybe I can rack my mind for some great books and sites for you!! Sorry this comment never came through my feed.

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  5. Angie

    I’m writing a book report and it’s about me having to write 10 question that will give a character from a book I chose the opportunity to discuss his/her role in the story and this wasn’t much help. i’ve been on more than 10 websites and nothing 😦

    • Maribeth

      Sorry, this post is more about character building than character roles. Id be happy to help you think of questions for your book report if you would like.

    • Maribeth

      Sorry, this post is more about character building then character roles. Id be happy to help you think of questions for your book report if you would like.

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