Need help developing the personalities of your characters in your book? These character development questions and free printable worksheet can help you quickly understand your character’s strengths, weakness, lovable quirks – and maybe even why they may not order pizza for dinner.
Your Characters Are Not Real People, But Don’t Let Your Readers Know That
When you open up a book and start reading – you know right away after you are introduced to the main characters whether or not it is a book you will want to continue reading.
If the characters are flat, have zero personality, or even do conflicting types of behaviors throughout the story – your readers will lose interest.
The way to really draw in your readers is to make every best effort to ensure your characters are fully developed and are relatable. The more we can relate to your character, whether they are main characters or supporting characters, the more likely we will believe the story.
In order to make your characters fully believable, they need to become real.
As a writer, it is important for you to imagine your character as someone you meet in real life.
Character Interview Questions can help you develop the basics of who your character might be like. It is very important for you to also spend some time with your characters, and really get to know them intimately, so that when it is time to write about them you will have no problems “staying in character”.
While there are a number of lists out there of the basic types of questions we can ask to develop our character’s personalities and describe their basic likes, interests and appearances – if you want to be a better writer, you really need to go a LOT deeper beyond what color their physical appearance and their hobbies.
Your character MUST HAVE FEELINGS!
It is emotion, not logic, which causes us to be interested and captivated by any type of fictional story. Your reader already logically knows your characters are pretend imaginary make-believe people.
It’s how those pretend people make your reader feel that matters.
The way to get this emotional connection?
By intimately understanding your characters of course!
Now that we understand why it is so very important to know and understand our characters and every thing about them – let’s get onto the character development questions that can help you understand far more than the basic details of their name, age, and appearance.
With over 160 questions about your character’s likes, dislikes, interests, emotions, and motivations, you are sure to have a good understanding of the person you are writing about in your novel!
Here are The Character Development Questions You Should Be Asking
To help you get started in creating your characters, we’ve created this list of character development questions. There are a total of 5 sections:
Section 1: The Basic Facts: This section includes questions to help you identify things like name, age, appearance, etc. These questions aren’t designed to get to the “heart and soul” of your character, they do play a role in the total picture of who the person is in your story, so of course we do include them in this list of interview questions.
Section 2: Personality & Behavioral Traits: What type of personality does your character have? What does your character do? These questions in this section will help you understand the inner workings of your character’s thoughts and their behaviors. Exploring these different traits can help your character become more realistic.
Going Deeper: This section explores more of the emotional side of your character, with questions to really get down to the “why” and “how” of who they are.
If you would like the printable and downloadable version of these questions, you will be able to find the free character development questions worksheet near the end of the article.
Section 1: The Basic Facts
What is Your Character’s Name?
How does the character feel about his or her name?
How did he or she get this name? Was it passed on from a family member, or did the parents read it on the side of a cereal box the day the child was born?
What is the meaning of the name? What culture did the name originate from? What regions of the world did the name come from?
What connotations or stereotypes does the name have?
Need tips for naming your characters? You Might Also Like: How to Name Your Characters
Character Age/Birthday/Zodiac Sign:
How old is your character?
What year was he or she born?
What events were happening locally, nationally and globally the year your character was born?
What is the zodiac sign? Does his or her zodiac sign have any bearing on their personality traits?
What Chinese Horoscope year were they born in? How does this influence their personality traits?
How does your character like to celebrate his or her birthday?
Character’s Physical Traits:
What does your character look like?
Is your character Athletic or Overweight?
Tall or Short?
Hair color and length?
Any scars or birth marks?
Does your character have a physical disability?
What actress or actor would you have play the role of your character if it was a movie?
What style of clothes does your character wear?
What clothes would he or she wear every day on a casual basis?
For a night out on the town?
Does he or she wear any special jewelry or accessories?
What type of shoes does your character wear?
Where does your character live? Is it an Apartment? House? In the backseat of his car?
How does your character feel about the current living arrangements?
Does your character live with anyone else? Who are those people?
How does your character get along with his or her neighbors?
What is the view outside of your character’s window?
What items do they keep next to their bed?
What is your character’s most valuable possession?
What does the character do for a living?
Do they find this work enjoyable?
What is your character’s dream job?
What is your character’s financial situation?
What does your character spend most of his/her money on?
What would your character do if he or she won the lottery?
What is your character’s highest level of education?
What things do they wish were different about their current profession?
Who are his or her parents?
Does he or she have any siblings?
A spouse or other romantic partner or love interest?
How about children?
Other family? Aunts? Uncles? Second Cousins Twice Removed?
How does your character feel about family functions and events?
Who are your character’s closest friends?
How did your character meet his or her best friend?
What do they value most in friendship?
Does your character make friends easily?
What was your character’s first romantic encounter like?
How does your character display affection?
What is your character’s idea of a perfect romantic date?
Has your character ever had his or her heart broken?
What qualities does your character look for in a romantic partner?
Does your character have any pets? What type?
What are your characters favorite animals?
How many times has your character visited the zoo?
Even Fictional Characters Have to Eat:
What are his or her favorite foods to eat?
Does he or she enjoy to cook?
Any food allergies or sensitivities?
What foods can he or she not stand to be around or eat?
Where would your character like to travel?
How does he or she want to get there?
Does your character have preferences on types of lodging?
How does your character spend a lazy Sunday afternoon?
What are their favorite places to go when alone? With friends?
TV, Movies, Music, & Books
What are your characters favorite movies and TV shows?
What are their favorite actors and actresses?
How often do they watch movies and/or television? What television shows or movies do you think they would enjoy most?
What are your character’s favorite music and songs?
What genre of music would you find your character most likely listening to? When do they listen to music? In the car? While working?
What artists and bands does your character enjoy listening to?
Would your character go to a concert and enjoy it?
Does your character play any musical instruments?
What are his or her favorite books?
What books are on his or her bookshelf at home?
What titles does he or she borrow from the library?
What genre of books does your character enjoy reading? Romance Fiction? Non-fiction? Thriller Crime Novels? Historical Fiction? Self-help? Poetry?
What is your character’s favorite quote and why?
Section 2: Character Personality & Behavioral Traits
Describe your character’s personality with three words. For each of these words, why would you choose these words a way to describe your character?
How does your character act socially?
Is your character an introvert or extrovert?
What does your character do when meeting someone for the first time?
How does he or she interact with guests at a party?
How does your character feel about small talk?
How does your character feel about being the center of attention?
Is your character organized or disorganized?
Are his or her belongings arranged neat and tidy or scattered all over the place?
Does your character tend to be forgetful or easily distracted?
Is he or she logical and analytical or more of a dreamer?
What are your character’s pet peeves?
What does your character do that might annoy others?
How does your character deal with feelings of anger? Punch walls? Go on a shopping spree? Walk it off?
How does your character handle everyday little frustrations?
What would your character do if stuck in a long line or traffic jam?
Strengths & Weaknesses
What are your character’s greatest strengths?
How did he or she develop these strengths and skills?
What are his or her greatest weaknesses?
What is something your character wishes they could do better?
Does your character have any obsessions or addictions?
Does your character neglect any important responsibilities in life?
What makes your character happy?
What is your character most thankful for in life?
If your character had an imaginary peaceful happy place, what would it be like?
Does your character find happiness from within or look for it from external sources?
Section 3: Going Deeper – Emotional Questions to Ask Your Character
What are your character’s greatest fears in life?
What past events may have influenced your character to have these fears?
How does your character deal with fear?
Was there ever a time your character did not feel like live was worth living?
What does your character do to make themselves feel better when in emotional or physical pain?
What would your character miss the most if it were to be taken away from them?
What are your character’s hopes, dreams, and goals?
What profession did he or she dream of having when growing up?
What is a day in the life of their dream life like?
How is their “dream life” different from their current life now? What things are the same?
What goals do they wish to accomplish in their life?
What are the challenges in reaching these goals?
What are the spiritual beliefs of your character?
Do these beliefs differ from the religion of his or her parents or other family?
Does your character believe in the afterlife?
Is your character superstitious?
If your character had a spirit animal, what would it be?
What is your character’s motto or mantra for life?
If your character’s beliefs could be summed up in three words, what would they be?
What would your character most like to change about the world?
What causes is your character passionate about?
Why does your character care about these things?
What are your character’s political beliefs?
What political issues matter the most to your character and why?
What is the most influential thing that impacted your character into being who he or she is today?
Who does your character consider to be role models, and why does he or she look up to these people?
Memories From the Past
What is your character’s greatest regret in life?
What are the most painful memories they have from childhood?
What deep dark secrets do they not tell anyone?
Does your character have a favorite place they would visit as a child?
What events from your character’s life have left an impact?
What are some of his or her most proudest moments?
What about most embarrassing moments?
What was his or her childhood like?
What types of toys did your character play with as a child?
Who was an influential person in your character’s childhood life?
Are there any people from the past your character misses? What does he or she miss the most about that person?
Values & Morals
How does your character feel about honesty? Do they believe in always telling the truth? Or do they believe that little lies won’t hurt anyone?
Does your character keep his or her promises?
Does your character prefer to do things easily or do them “right”?
When is a time your character has felt betrayed? Why did they feel this way?
What is something your character would never do?
What is something people would be surprised your character WOULD do?
What makes your character proud? What was one of his or her proudest moments in life?
How does your character feel about rules and guidelines? Necessary or restrictive?
Is your character a leader, follower, or lone wolf?
Wants & Needs
What motivates your character?
What does your character need in order to be happy?
What needs does your character have that might left unfulfilled?
Download Your Free Character Development Questions Printable Here
We’ve created two versions of the character development questions worksheet. One version is a printable PDF – easy to print out and use in your notebook to answer questions about who your characters are in your novels and stories.
Prefer typing and a digital format? No worries – we have you covered there as well with an editable doc.x file! Simply open the file in Microsoft office or Apple Pages, save as a copy and start typing in the answers to the questions!
We hope you enjoy this list of character development questions. You don’t have to incorporate all the answers of these questions into your story of course, but having a strong knowledge of your character can help make the writing process much easier!
When you fully develop your characters and have a working knowledge of these details – even if they don’t necessarily make their way into your book – it can help you choose the right style and tone to convey to your readers that your characters are believable. Using these questions will help you build strong, relatable characters which will pique your readers’ interests.
Are there any questions you ask your characters that are not on this list? Any other tips for creating strong personas for your novels? We’d love to hear what type of character development questions you find most useful and any thoughts or experiences you have in the comments section below!