I’ve been running my characters through these questions so I thought I might as well share them. They are meant to be a fun but challenging look at how your characters are going to interact with each other and the plot.
The examples and explanations are simplistic versions and some stories (especially complex ones) will create variation on the standard.
1. What does your character want?
This is something they think will make their life better. They either start out the story wanting it or decide they want it at the inciting incident. It’s driven by internal desires that are strong enough to force the character to make external choices within alter the plot. Often this want demonstrates a flaw the character will have to overcome by the end of the story. (Ex. Ash wants vengeance for her sister at any cost to herself and others.)
2. What does your character need?
This is what will in actuality make their life better. It should build off or contrast their want in some way. (Ex. Ash needs to let go of her quest for vengeance in order to protect the people she loves and let them protect her in turn.)
3. At what point does your character realize that what they need isn’t what they want,and what drives this understanding?
This should happen near the end of the story, usually at the beginning of the climax.
Bonus: If your character doesn’t chose to go after what they need instead of what they want during the above realization, at what point do they make this choice, and what drives it?
(Note this can apply to both romantic and platonic relationships!)
1. What external influences are keeping these characters apart?
These are things within the world, likely out of their control, such as war or social expectations or conflicting goals or a looming knowledge they’ll be separated.
2. What internal beliefs are keeping these characters apart?
This is generally old baggage that comes from a feeling, such as fear of being betrayed or not feeling good enough, but it can also be something that arises as time goes on, such as the fear that being honest about their changing beliefs will cause a rift.
3. What does the character have to lose if the relationship falls apart or doesn’t mature?
This can be anything from not having someone there to share their dreams with to not having the skills the other personal provides their sleuthing partnership.
4. What does the character gain if everything works out and these two people are happy together?
Pretty much the same as question three except, you know, opposite.
1. If your character is placed in a bare room with a single closed door and told to pick one of these items, which do they chose: a knife, a shield, or a bandage.
Bonus: Why did they pick that item?
2. If you had to portray this character through one action (not a personality trait or a descriptor but an action) what would they be doing?
This could be a hobby, or nervous habit, a presentation of emotion, etc, but it has to show who the character is.