I love asking questions. Awkward, weird, wonderful questions that get to the heart of people. It’s one of my favorite parts of getting to know someone. And while the following questions are perhaps a little too personal for general consumption, they are great for grilling protagonists (and other characters) and making them ‘fess up their guts. The thing to remember is that it’s not only what the character answers, but how they answer. A refusal to answer can be equally revealing. The trick is not letting the protagonist off the hook with a one or two word answer–hence, I’ve added bullet points after each question giving additional probes. Get ready to have some character fun!
1.) Would they wear the same clothes two days in a row? More than two days? Do they believe in the ‘smell test’ for clothing?
- Can reveal their perspective on cleanliness
- Can reveal their socioeconomic class
- Can reveal how good their sense of smell is
- Can reveal how conscious they are of how others view them
- Can reveal their perspective on themselves
- Can reveal general standards for the culture
2.) A bird poops on them. How do they handle it?
- Can reveal their view of animals
- Can reveal how they handle negative surprises
- Can reveal their general outlook on life – positive or negative
- Can reveal how prepared they are for messes
3.) Unexpected pregnancy–how do they deal with it? How would they react if they found out they were pregnant, or that their spouse/significant other was pregnant?
- Can reveal their relationship status
- Can reveal their attitude towards family and children
- Can reveal their level of preparedness
- Can reveal their religious background
- Can reveal the sexual/courtship rituals of the culture
4.) What are they addicted to? What is the one thing they could never give up?
- Can reveal their vices – think about ordinary, everyday issues
- Can open up possibilities for areas of weakness
- Can open up discussion about how they handle those vices. Are they ashamed? Proud?
- Can diversify their characterization with negative traits
5.) Who or what would they die for? Why? If no one/nothing, why not?
- Can reveal their perspective on death/the afterlife
- Opens up philosophy and religious aspects
- Reveals who/what they value
- Can reveal their personality, in terms of pragmatism, martyrdom, selfishness, etc
Feel free to answer any questions from your character’s POV in the comments–or add your own questions!