OOC: I know that some of us who work with Muses and characters all of the time sort of struggle to get a handle on them. The following is a questionaire that I compiled from several sources, most of them from writing courses I have taken, or books from Writer’s Digest. This list under the cut is EXHAUSTIVE. Some questions will apply to your character or muse, others will not. Some may seem quite redundant. Play with it at will.
Also Known As (Nicknames)
Place of Birth
Hair Colour and Style
Distinquising Features (choose at least four)
Pysical Imperfections (Would most like to change)
Married / Divorced /Widowed
(First, Second Third, etc. and how long for each)
Family Background / Lineage
Father’s Current Status (Living or Deceased)
Mother’s Current Status (Living or Deceased)
Years of Schooling
Major and Minor Studies in College (if applicable)
Grades acheived in school
Special Occupatonal Training
Skills, Abillities and Talents (Name at least four)
Areas of Expertise (Name at least three)
Past Occupations (list as many as you like)
Short Term Goals (name three)
Long Term Goals (name three)
Short Term Needs (name three)
Long Term Needs (name three)
General Personality Type
Introvert or Extrovert?
Eccentricities (name three if you can)
Quirks: (however many)
Method of Handling Anger or Rage (Repress? Throw Things? etc.)
Bad Habits / Vices
Pet Peeves / Gripes
Things that Make Uncomfortable or Embarass
Most Painful Things in One’s Life
Ever Been Arested (if so, for what?)
Arrests, and Convictions: (For what, for how long and sentences received)
Political or Social Issues Most Important to Them.
Opinion on Abortion
Opinon on Environmental Issues
Opinion on Homosexuality
Opinion on Military Intervention
Opinion on Progress
Opinion on Crime and Gun Control
Opinions Particular to Character
Liberal, Conservative, Middle of the Road, Radical
Sense of Humor (None, dry, understated, witty, radical, dirty, etc)
Fears (name three)
Phisical Illnesses or Afflictions
Favorite TV Shows
Favorite Travel Destination
Pets – Do they have any? If so what?
Why did they acquire them?
How Important Are They?
How do they treat pets? Wild animals, etc?
Drinks Alcohol? How often?
Favorite Alcoholic Drink
Diet (Rich, low fat, cholesterol, restaurant, etc)
Favorite Restaurant/Ethnic Food
Posture and Movement: Walk, etc.
Attributes about Character that are appealing to the Opposite Sex
Sexual Turn Ons
Sexual Turn Offs
Traumas, Psychological Scars from the Past
Clothing Styles, favorite outfits
Favorite Pet Sayings / Words / Idiolect:
Speaking Style (Talkative, tacturn, soft spoken, loud, formal, casual, accent, fast, slow, etc)
Philosophy on Life
Type and Number of Close Friends
Most Crucial Experience (or experiences that helped to mold character’s personality or attitude)
Home (apartment, tenament building, high rent, low rent, etc)
Decor, hoe so they live? Clean? Neat? Expensive Comfortable? Attractivve?
Car (or Horse)
Drive Fast or Slow / Obey Traffic Laws
Major Problems to Solve or Overcome
Solutions to Problems
Minor Problems to Solve or Overcome
Solutions to Problems
Character Growth (by end of story) Character Change
Chronology of Actions from start of story to end)
Attitudes about Money, (Prdent, Cautious and Saves, Spends, debt? Criminal activities to support bad spending habits)
Dancing? Do they Enjoy it?
How does this character get along with their spouse?
Children in General?
People more successful than he or she is?
Less Successful than he or she is?
Sleep: Who does the character sleep with in the same bed?
What time do they wake up?
What wakes them up? (alarm? Dog? Rooster? Wife? Hunger?)
What do they do during breakfast? (Read? Talk? Feed Kids?)
Dressing: Is it a big deal to get ready in the morning?
Do they look forward to or resent the day ahead?
Does h e or she give hte job honest attention and effort?
Does He or She enjoy what they do?
Is he or She good at this job?
Would He or She rather be doing something else?
If so, What?
How long and hard is the work day
Does they stop for lunch?
Eating what typically?
Does He or She Enjoy the Meal?
What does it Consist of?
What Goes on During Dinner? (Conversation? Fighting? Reading?)
Who Cleans up?
What does your Character do on a typical Evening?
How Much Does He or She Enjoy it?
What Would they prefer to be doing?
Why Doesnt He or She Do That?
Is the Evening Atmosphere, Pleasant? Calm? Tense? Frenetic? Wary Fun etc?
Bedtime: Does he or she go to bed consistently at the same time?
When does Bedtime Occur at Different Time
Do they fall asleep right away?
If No What is He doing in the meantime? Reading? Watching TV? Sex? Tossing and Turning?
How Much do they enjoy this activity
Does He or She dream alot, little or never?
Are most of his or her dreams scary, pleaseant, sexual,etc?
Is any one dream recurrent (yes/no)
Does your character sleep peacefully througout the night. Erestlessly or very badly?
What is his or her earliest memory?
If they were to suddenly become much richer, what he or she do with the money?
What is his or her stated dream in life?
What does he or she really long for?
What event are they most afraid of possibly happening?
Who does he or she in their wildest deepest soul really love best in the whole world?
What would he or she be willing to die for if anything?
What does he or she beleive about God?
About the purpose of life?
About an afterlife?
What does he or she actively work to gain or keep or protect – not merely say is important, but actually invest time and emotion in – money, fame, family, love, country, revenge, etc.
How would he or she describe himself or herself if totally honest?
In a single word, how woud YOU the author (or Mun) sum up this character/muse’s attitude toward the world, interested, optimistic, defeated, Exploitive, compassionate dissatisfied, power mad, controlling, happy, etc.
Would your character or muse agree with your assesment
Why or Why not?
“Dynamic Character”: How to Create Personalities that Keep Readers Captivated” by Nancy Kress, 1998, Writer’s Digest Books
“Building Believable Characters” by Marc McCutcheon, 1996,Writer’s Digest Books