Yesterday, I wrote about the two key motivators that every one of your primary characters in a novel must have: a concrete goal (save the princess, slay the dragon) and an abstract goal (seek justice, find love, be honest)
Today, I'd like to show you a really practical way of fleshing out your characters in a fascinating way that my writers really enjoy and find the most helpful: The Proust Questionnaire.
Marcel Proust, before radio, TV and such, took a common Victorian parlour game and used it to develop his written characters. It's based on a bunch of questions and, once you fill it out, your characters will truly come to life! I find it way more helpful than a simple checklist of traits, physical attributes and so on.
YOu can find the questionnaire right here. It works particularly well when you take on the role of the character being interviewed, i.e., answering the questions.
Here are a few of the questions you'll encounter.
What is your current state of mind?
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
On what occasion do you lie?
What do you most dislike about your appearance?
Which living person do you most despise?
What is the quality you most like in a man?
What is the quality you most like in a woman?
Along with completing the "interview", it also helps to have an image of your character in mind. Surf the net for the person you're thinking of. When I wrote the Ross 128 Trilogy, one of my primary characters, Jim Atteberry, was modeled after Commander Riker from Star Trek TNG :)
Let me know how this works for you!
Hi, I'm David. I'm a science fiction writer, lover of Star Trek, fascinated by a potential future of hope. I write from a Christian worldview. Want to know the darker details? Click here.
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