Goodreads Reading Challenge 2023

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Character Development | 21 Questions to Ask Your Characters as a Writer

As a writer, creating believable and compelling characters is a vital aspect of storytelling. Characters that feel real and relatable can make or break a story, captivating readers and drawing them deeper into your narrative. One effective way to develop well-rounded characters is by asking them probing questions. By delving into their thoughts, desires, fears, and experiences, you can breathe life into your characters and make them resonate with your audience. This blog post will explore 21 essential questions to ask your characters during development.

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1. What is your character's backstory?

Understanding a character's past is crucial to shaping their present. Explore their childhood, upbringing, and significant life events that have shaped who they are today.


2. What are your character's goals and aspirations?

Every character should have a driving force that motivates their actions. Determine what your character wants to achieve and what they are willing to do to reach their goals.


3. What are your character's fears and insecurities?

Dig deep into your character's fears and vulnerabilities. Identifying their weaknesses will help you create conflict and allow for growth throughout the story.


4. What are your character's strengths and talents?

Highlight your character's unique abilities and talents. Understanding what they excel at will allow you to showcase their skills and create opportunities for them to shine.


5. What are your character's core values?

Identify the principles and beliefs that guide your character's decisions and actions. These values will shape their moral compass and influence their interactions with other characters.


6. What are your character's relationships like with family and friends?

Explore the dynamics between your character and their loved ones. Understanding their relationships will add depth to their personality and provide opportunities for character growth.


7. What is your character's worldview or philosophy of life?

How does your character perceive the world around them? Do they have a particular philosophy or perspective that colors their experiences and choices?


8. What are your character's hobbies or interests?

Discover your character's hobbies, passions, or recreational activities. These details will add depth and complexity to their personality, making them more relatable to readers.


9. What is your character's occupation or role in society?

Consider the profession or social role your character occupies. This will provide insight into their skills, responsibilities, and how they interact within their community.


10. How does your character handle stress or conflict?

Explore your character's coping mechanisms when faced with difficult situations. Understanding their reactions will help you craft realistic responses during tense moments.


11. What is your character's sense of humor like?

Humor can reveal a lot about a character's personality. Determine whether your character is quick-witted, sarcastic, or has a particular comedic style.


12. What are your character's physical attributes and appearance?

Develop a visual representation of your character by defining their physical features, including height, build, hair color, and distinctive traits. This will aid in creating a vivid mental image for your readers.


13. What are your character's ambitions and dreams?

In addition to immediate goals, consider the long-term ambitions and dreams your character harbors. This can add depth and complexity to their desires and motivations.


14. How does your character handle success or failure?

Understanding your character's attitude towards success and failure will influence how they navigate challenges and setbacks throughout the story.


15. What are your character's secrets or hidden aspects?

Every character has secrets that shape their behavior and influence the plot. Uncover hidden aspects of your character's past or personality that will add intrigue and suspense to the story.


16. How does your character interact with authority figures?

Examine your character's relationship with authority figures such as parents, bosses, or mentors. This will provide insight into their respect, rebellion, or obedience level.


17. What are your character's favorite and least favorite things?

Discover your character's preferences, such as favorite foods, music, or colors. Likewise, explore their pet peeves and dislikes to add realistic nuances to their personality.


18. What are your character's internal conflicts?

Delve into your character's internal struggles and dilemmas. These conflicts can drive the emotional arc of your story and make your character more relatable.


19. What are your character's motivations for change or growth?

Identify the catalysts that prompt your character to evolve throughout the narrative. Whether overcoming a fear or seeking redemption, motivations for change add depth to their journey.


20. How does your character's past affect their present decisions?

Examine the influence of your character's past experiences on their decision-making process. This will help you create authentic and consistent character actions and reactions.


21. What lessons or messages do you want your character to embody?

Consider the broader themes and messages your story aims to convey. Define how your character's development aligns with these themes and what lessons they ultimately represent.



Asking these 21 questions to your characters during the development process can help you create rich, multi-dimensional individuals that resonate with readers. By understanding your characters more deeply, you can write authentic dialogue, craft compelling story arcs, and immerse your audience in your fictional world. So, take the time to explore and question your characters, and watch them come alive on the pages of your story. Happy writing!

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