Useful Questions for Characters #amwriting

Last week, I wrote about reasons to do character sheets, and promised I’d post some questions I’ve found useful. So here are some Useful Questions, along with one character’s answer to each.

5 Useful Questions for Characters

1 ) Have you ever had a pet?

Kinnan said: Do I strike you as the pet-keeping kind? I’ve had horses before, as a mercenary, but they were just beasts of burden. Never had a “friendship” with one, as I’ve seen some men have. Never had a qualm about trading one for another, or grieved when one died under me in battle. I fight better afoot, anyway. Rather walk than fuss with feeding and sheltering two instead of one. Wouldn’t mind a bird, but I wouldn’t want one caged. When I get my smithy, I’ll put up a gourd filled with sugar-water, the way they do in Sule, for hummingbirds. I do enjoy watching hummingbirds.

2 ) What’s your favorite food?

Nerissa said: I used to see rich people’s food being prepared in their kitchens. A cook gave me a sip of sherbet once, so cold and sweet and good. She said it was made with ammonz and pieces — almonds and peaches, Brady says.

3 ) Do you like to read? If so, what?

Rhu said: I like to read histories, especially of Layounna and each of her districts. I like to read poetry.

4 ) Are you afraid of anything?

Guthrie said: Of my plans coming to light before I’m ready.

5 ) Are you sorry for anything you’ve done?

Landry said: I’m sorry I let my mother come to the castle with me. I’m sorry I didn’t work harder to make my wife like me. Everything that went wrong after that was the result of those two mistakes. Once they had been made, I had no choice but to do exactly as I did.

useful questionsEach of those answers took me places in those characters’ lives and characters I didn’t expect. Simple questions, like “What’s your favorite color?” or “Do you like music?” can open a character to you, if you also supply a reason or a memory to go with the simple answer.

These characters, by the way, are all from SAGE, my fantasy trilogy. Click here to go to my SAGE page, for buy links and links to sample chapters.

A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: Ask your characters the same 10 questions and see what different answers they give. If all their answers sound alike, you’re either writing about doppelgangers or you need to work on your characters a little more.




I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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One thought on “Useful Questions for Characters #amwriting

  1. Jane

    February 9, 2015 at 12:00pm

    I like the way you had different characters answer the questions. AAAss you know, sometimes the right question is the answer already.

    I think we know Callies favorite food is on the hoof. But her favorite color? Er…red? Did she ever have a pet? I’m sure. A pet…tiger!

    And the ultimate question (because who knew it would be?):
    Do you ever read anything? (See: Sara Palin)

    Permalink  ⋅ Reply
    • Author

      Marian Allen

      February 9, 2015 at 5:12pm

      Really? Did Callie REALLY have a pet tiger? When? Where? Was it Not A Pretty Story, or did it have a happy ending, or what? See, I wanna know that story!

      Permalink  ⋅ Reply

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