36 Questions - Characterization

Ever have trouble connecting with your characters? Ever just give up because you change them too much? Ever just don't have a clue what's going on with them? Well, fear not, for Gep is here, with 36 questions that will bring you and character so close you'll be besties! Or enemies... depends.

1.      How old, exactly?
2.      Who do they live with?
3.      Where do they live?  Describe the physical place, home, neighborhood (not people, yet). 
4.      Describe the kind of people who live where character does (not in the house, but in the neighborhood).
5.      What day is their birthday?  Birthday important to them?
6.      What is their level of education?  Where did (do) they go to school?  If college, what did they study?
7.      What is their parents’ socio-economic level (education, wealth, cultural background)?
8.      Parents religious?  If yes, what religion?  A big deal to them?
9.      Religion important to character?  Explain.
10. What is ethnicity?  Is ethnic background important?  Describe.
11. Parent relationships important to the character?  One parent more important than other?  Who?  Why?  If bad, describe.
12. Do they have brothers or sisters?  Describe relationships.
13. Are they married?  Good marriage?  Bad marriage?  Middle?   Describe what you know.
14. Boyfriend/Girlfriend (even if they’re married)?
15. Describe general history of romantic relationships.  Any bad/good history that informs how they live now?
16. If they have children, describe relationships with each.
17. What is their job?  Do they like the tasks?  Do they like co-workers?  Customers?  Describe.
18. If possible, name and describe three closest friends in order of importance.  History is important.
19. Who, if anyone, do they go to if they have a problem?  Do they go to different people for material problems (money, mechanical issues, etc.) and emotional problems?
20. Where are they on a typical Sunday at 10 a.m.?
21. Where are they on a typical Friday at 9 p.m.?
22. Do they do their own laundry?
23. What is their favorite food?  Why?
24. What is their favorite possession?  Why?
25. Do they keep a clean house?  Do they make their own bed?
26. Describe the state of their bedroom.  What does it say about them?
27. Do they know how to cook?
28. Would they dance at a wedding?
29. Do they like music?  What kind of music?  Can they play music?  Can they sing?
30. Do they read?  What?
31. Early riser or late nighter?
32. Would they rather be good than rich?
33. Would they rather be powerful than good?
34. What do they want most? Describe concrete goal.  Describe emotional need.
35. What’s stopping them? Describe.
36. Do they think the universe is good, bad, or indifferent?  Or, do they not know (implies questioning)?

These questions are all belong to Geoff Herbach, author of Stupid Fast. Use this, guys, it really helps!


  1. Awesome! Those are excellent questions... Perfect for getting your character the way you want him. 8]

  2. When you don't know the gender or it could be either, you use male. :P
    That's to keep people from always having to say "him/her" or "him or her."

  3. I think they would say "they" or "the person".

  4. Good questions
    And i use they when i don't talk about the gender