Writing like a Boss

From the desk of Samantha R. Uhrig

50 Deep Questions for Getting to Know Your Characters

Stories thrive on character.

It all starts with your protagonist. Then it branches out to their parents, their neighbors, their partners, their enemies, etc.

And those characters are so important to your story. You can have the plot of a NY Times bestseller and prose of an 18th century poet, but without good characters, none of that matters.

Which is why I’ve made this list!

Below are 50 questions for deepening your character. Ideally, you’ll want to choose a character you’ve already created to some extent. But this works for making brand-new characters, as well.

You can skim through and choose the questions you like best, or just copy and paste the list into a document for simplicity’s sake. (Use match formatting to remove my website format.)

And if you have any suggestions for questions to add, or you want to share some of your answers, please don’t hesitate to comment below! Feedback absolutely makes my day!

1. What is your character’s biggest fear?

2. What are some of your character’s other fears?

3. What is your character reluctant to tell people?

4. How does your character feel about their appearance?

5. Would your character change anything about their appearance?

6. Would they change anything about their personality?

7. What does your character believe is the point of life?

8. What did your character’s parents believe?

9. How do their parents’ beliefs affect your character’s?

10. How does your character feel about babies, children, and teenagers?

11. What are some compatible traits your character could find in a partner? (Regardless of whether or not they want a partner.)

12. What were your character’s childhood obsessions?

13. How does your character pass the time?

14. If your character reads books/watches movies, what genres do they prefer?

15. From what did your character’s core personality traits come? (e.g. lack of friends growing up can equal clingy traits, or overcoming hardships early on can create traits of strength.)

16. How did your character feel about friendships growing up?

17. How do they feel about friendships now?

18. What are some family traditions in which your character participated as a child?

19. What are their traditions now? (Anything from religious traditions to eating apple pie every Tuesday for breakfast.)

20. How did/do these traditions shape the character?

21. Did your character once admire their parents? Do they still admire them?

22. Which parent did they admire most and for what reasons?

23. Who else did they admire growing up?

24. And who do they admire today?

25. What clothing materials feel most comfortable to your character?

26. In what specific temperatures does your character feel most at home? What are considered uncomfortable temperatures?

27. What was the worst event of their childhood?

28. What was the best?

29. What are some insignificant memories that stick with your character to this day?

30. Does your character have next-door neighbors? Who are they?

31. What is the one thing your character wants most in the world?

32. When they were a child, what did your character want to be “when they grow up?”

33. Did they accomplish that dream?

34. How did that dream change over the years?

35. What are the biggest obstacles in your character’s life?

36. Are there any health or mental problems that run in your character’s family? (e.g. heart disease, depression, etc.)

37. Did your character inherit any of those problems?

38. Who in your character’s family do they most resemble?

39. Is the character’s dialect adopted from their relatives, or from the locals where they grew up?

40. How does their accent affect their word choice?

41. What is the kindest thing your character has ever done?

42. What’s the worst thing your character has ever done?

43. How do they feel about either of the above events, if they remember them?

44. What is your character burningly passionate about?

45. What is your character’s favorite place they have ever visited?

46. What is one place your character wants to visit?

47. Sum up your character in 3 adjectives.

48. Sum up your character in 3 nouns.

49. Sum up your character in 3 verbs.

50. What Hogwarts house feels closest to your character?


2 responses to “50 Deep Questions for Getting to Know Your Characters”

  1. Jann Cilliers

    Thanks for the article. What is your characters’ Star Sign? To me, this gives a whole plethora of information. It will only work if you already have previous knowledge of Star Signs or personality types.

    1. And things like enneagram, MBTI, etc. can also be helpful!