From the folks at Writer's Digest and their ever-handy free e-mail newsletter, "9 Questions to Ask Your Main Character." Click here to read the full article.

Here's the gist of the list:

1. How do you learn best?
2. How open are you to new ideas and information?
3. When you walk into a party, what do you notice first?
4. Is one sense more highly developed than another?
5. Do you usually notice problems around you?
6. Would you say you are an optimist or a pessimist?
7. Are you more interested in the past, the future or living in the now?
8. How do you decide if you can trust someone?
9. Are you a deliberate, careful speaker, or do you talk without thinking first?

Good stuff. It's timely in that I'm developing my main protag in the new WIP.

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There's one more that is too often not asked, and is the downfall of too many books, especially thrillers:

Why are you doing this? Or, as the question may relate to an inciting act of the story, Why are you getting involved in this? We've all read stories where the character should clearly just walk away, or take different action, and doesn't, for no good reason other than the author needs something to move the story along. Drives me crazy.
Here are five questions I'd like my main character to answer:

1.Scotch or martinis? Make up your mind.
2.Would you have sex with a transsexual if you didn't have a girlfriend and the transsexual was really good-looking?
3.Why don't you get rid of your mother's god-awful furniture and get something comfortable from Pottery Barn? She's never coming back from that nursing home, you know.
4.What would happen if some night, after a couple of drinks, you made a move on Lola?
5.Why aren't you in therapy?
Working on a new Coffin story, are you, Jon?
And shaken or stirred has been done.
I don't do the "interview my characters" thing. I know some writers do but I never did that process. I prefer to jump into the story and let my characters surprise me. I think the best part about characters is not planning them out. It's fine to know a little about them but I'd rather just begin the story and allow the characters to breathe and come into their own. Most times my characters end up surprising me and dictating the story way more than I ever could. I find the process of getting to know my characters while writing the story more fulfilling and like I said fun. I love how they surprise me and sometimes can cause the plot to go into an entirely different thing than I'd planned. I believe writing should be spontaneous in that effect. But that's just me.

Best Wishes!
Love it. These are good questions. Thanks for posting.
my main characters are 12 years old - i need a different set of questions.


1. if you were given 50 cents, what lollies would you buy?
2. maths or english?
3. who's your favourite TV character?
4. you've been sprung doing something naughty - what do you do? 'fess up or lie?
5. if you don't understand something, do you ask 'why' or do you shrug and walk off?
I know who and what my characters are as soon as I write the first sentence.
My response to the OP would've made more sense if I had added, no, I don't ask my main character any questions. Sorry.
What do you want?


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