There are lots of ways to develop your characters for your story, from checklists and templates to meditation on real-life figures. But one of the best ways to quickly create your characters in depth, bringing them to life even before you begin writing, is the Proust Questionnaire.
Proust Questionnaire for Character Development
The French novelist Marcel Proust pulled together a list of 35 questions that, once answered, pretty much tell you everything you need to know about an individual. It began as a parlour game, something to amuse friends and family, but it's real power for writers lies in using these questions to bring characters to life.
Here's a sample:
You can find the full list of questions here.
Some of the answers might come quickly, but most of them will require some thought and rumination. Now, I do wonder what it would be like to answer the questions for a character like Captain Kirk or Darth Vader, and perhaps as a thought experiment, I'll do an exercise for that.
But in the meantime, if you're looking for a quick way to build a robust character for your story, the Proust Questionnaire is hard to beat. I'm thinking of making this part of my Write Your First Novel Now! course, it's that powerful. Enjoy!
Hi, I'm David. I write science fiction from a Christian worldview that promotes hope. Want to know the darker details? Click here.
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