By: Laurel Garver
Characters ought to be more than a name and job title, like Joan Bunderson, special operative or Kyle Kowalski, hockey star. To breathe on the page, your characters need to have an outer life that's relational beyond work and an inner life of passions, drives, attitudes, memories, wounds, and fears.
Below is a fairly exhaustive list of questions to brainstorm when developing a new character, especially the protagonist. Obviously you don't need to know all these things about him or her to proceed with a story. However, wrestling with some of these questions might open up new avenues for inner and outer conflict to arise, or suggest interesting plot or setting elements you hadn't before considered. So choose a few from each menu or tackle them all, your choice.
If interviewing is your favorite research method, you might find it beneficial to find real people with similarities to your character and ask them a few of the questions. Even if your character is quite different personality-wise, a
I suspect some of these questions might be useful for getting to know just about anyone if you're ever at a loss for conversation ideas.
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