Character Questions: The Letter A

Here’s another round of a few questions you can ask of one of your fictional characters to help you flesh him or her out a bit more. The number you decide to answer will probably depend on how much detail you go into—the more inspiration you find in a single question, the fewer you need to explore on the whole.

  • Altars: What are the most private and personal day-to-day expressions of religion or spirituality in your character’s life?
  • Alterations: What changes would your character most like to make to his or her daily life?
  • Acids: What has the greatest ability to eat away at your character’s strength or resolve?
  • Application: What motivation best serves to convince your character to apply him- or herself most fully to a task?
  • Any evocative word can serve as a starting point for such explorations; you can always open a dictionary to a random page in order to look for more. I like having a wide variety of questions to choose from simply because you probably want to answer different questions for each character you explore, and you might find one question inspiring but not another. However, I don’t recommend trying to answer a huge number of questions for a single character—you can end up burning yourself out on the character before you get to your actual writing! Just pick a few highlights and use those. Even one or two good questions can teach you a lot about a character.

    If you prefer to write non-fiction rather than fiction, always feel free to ask character-building questions of yourself and journal about the answers.

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