9 Questions to Ask Your Main Character

Understand your character better by asking him (or her) these questions. by Alicia Rasley
Publish date:

Look at your own POV character—the readers’ eyes and ears in the story—and answer whichever of these questions intrigue you. (When I use the word you in the questions, I’m talking to the character.) Freewrite the answers in the character’s first-person voice: "I learn best by …"

1. How do you learn best? Observation? Participation? Trial and error? Rumination and cogitation? Consulting experts? Writing?
2. How open are you to new ideas and information? Do you change your mind frequently, based on what people have told you? Are you a traditionalist, deciding on the basis of what’s always been?
3. When you walk into a party, what do you notice first? The mood? The people? The decorations? The things that need to be fixed? The background music? The food on the buffet table? Whether or not you fit in?
4. Is one sense more highly developed than another? For instance, do you tend to take in the world primarily through vision? (“I’ll believe that when I see it!”) Or are you more auditory? Do you determine if a person is lying by the tone of voice? What about the sixth sense—intuition? How often do you rely on your “gut” and then have your feelings confirmed?
5. Do you usually notice problems around you? What is your response? Do you write an angry letter to the editor? Shrug and move on? Analyze what’s wrong and how to fix it? Take it as evidence that the world is falling apart? What about problems within yourself?
6. Would you say you are an optimist or a pessimist? Would your friends agree?
7. Are you more interested in the past, the future or living in the now? Are you one to keep holiday traditions? If you had to move tomorrow, how long would it take you to make new friends?
8. How do you decide if you can trust someone? By experience with this person? First impressions? Intuition? Do you test the person somehow? Or are you just generally disposed to trust or not to trust?
9. Are you a deliberate, careful speaker, or do you talk without thinking first? Do you use slang, or do you use diction your old English teacher would approve?

Now read over what you just wrote and list five to 10 “hallmarks” of your character’s POV, such as: visual, problem solver, pessimist, dark view of humanity, expects the worst, looks for trouble, wary and curious, always on the lookout, oddly sentimental about some things, speaks slowly and distinctly, etc.

Want to strenthen your character's Point-Of-View? Consider:
The Power of Point of View: Make Your Story Come Alive

Image placeholder title

Become a WD VIP and Save 10%:
Get a 1-year pass to WritersMarket.com, a 1-year subscription to Writer's Digest magazine and 10% off all WritersDigestShop.com orders! Click here to join.

Also check out these items from the Writer's Digest's collection:
Writer's Digest Elements Of Writing Fiction: Beginnings, Middles & Ends

Writer's Digest Elements Of Writing Fiction: Scene & Structure

Writer's Digest Elements Of Writing Fiction: Conflict, Action & Suspense
Writer's Digest Elements Of Writing Fiction: Description
Writer's Digest Elements Of Writing Fiction: Characters & Viewpoint

Writer's Digest No More Rejections
Writer's Digest Weekly Planner

Writer's Digest How to Land a Literary Agent (On-Demand Webinar)
Writer's Digest Magazine One-Year Subscription
Writer's Digest 10 Years of Writer's Digest on CD: 2000-2009