15 questions to build stronger characters

Strong characters—main and side characters—can bring your story to life. They’re hard to write but worth it to help readers stay immersed in your story.

Here are fifteen questions to help build your characters:

  • What is the second thing your character wants the most?
  • What social media would be your character’s favorite? How would they use it?
  • Does your character lie well?
  • What does your character not want people to know about them?
  • What were your character’s childhood obsessions?
  • How does your character’s parents’ beliefs and actions affect them?
  • Does who your character admires change as they grow up?
  • What is the worst thing your character has done?
  • What is their darkest memory? What is their happiest?
  • What keeps them up at night?
  • Does your character have any habits or routines? 
  • What is their biggest regret?
  • What’s one thing your character needs to improve on but they themselves don’t know about yet?
  • Does your character even want to change?
  • Where would your character love to go?

Hopefully this list helps!

9 thoughts on “15 questions to build stronger characters

  1. Excellent Robin and very helpful. Many of these questions are similar to ones that actors use to build a profile of the characters they’re hired to portray, to build their own understanding of who their character is and how he/she will or should respond to the events and other characters in the play or film they’re working on. I’ve always found that to be a useful way of coming to understand the human nature of the characters, the people, in my stories. Only 10% of what these questions involve may be apparent in the actual story I am writing, but 100% of it is apparent to me as I write, as I make creative decisions about my characters line by line.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think of writing as an iceberg after I saw someone else mention it before. True, the readers won’t see the full iceberg or character, about 10% like you said. But as writers, we need to know everything.

      Also, I didn’t know actors do that. I have zero acting training, so I don’t really know much of what they do.


  2. I might not use all of these particular questions of my characters, but asking them questions is always a good idea as part of building them. You should be able to answer the questions that readers will ask (although in some cases it might be a good idea not to answer them in the text).

    Liked by 1 person

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