Developing your characters isn’t an easy task. There’s many things that get overlooked, either that or you’re spending so many hours on questionnaires that getting down to the writing isn’t happening. The thing is you could go through a hundred different questionnaires (like ours!) to help you get to know your character, but chances are knowing their favourite colour isn’t going to help you write them any better.
And that’s before we even get into how boring answering character questionnaires can be. Boring and time consuming. Especially if you’re doing it for multiple characters. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with questionnaires, those endless character interviews have helped me flesh out some of Evey’s backstory. But if you’re looking for questions that are a bit more unique, a bit more fandom, then read on. I’ll be taking inspiration from YA book series, popular shows, films and anything else. You can answer or skip questions as you like and you don’t need to write paragraphs explaining why unless you want to, but some of these can help you understand the core of your character.
- Harry Potter: Sort your characters into their Hogwarts houses. Don’t think too much about it, it doesn’t matter what house their friends are in, just ask yourself what suits them. Do they belong in Gryffindor, the home of the brave; Slytherin, for those with cunning; Hufflepuff, loyal to the end; or Ravenclaw, always relying on their intelligence?
- Divergent: Which of the factions do you believe your character would choose? Factions in Divergent are more a response to the characters choice (therefore you can’t say they’re divergent, even Tris chose Dauntless). While their Hogwarts house will tell the truth about the character, their faction speaks more for what they think of themselves. Abnegation, the selfless; Dauntless, the brave; Erudite, the intelligent; Amity, the peaceful; Candor, the honest.
- The Hunger Games: Your character is thrown into the Hunger Games, what weapon/tool/skill would they use to aid their survival? Think about why they have this skill and think that they can use it to their advantage.
- The Hunger Games: You character is stood on the Platform, waiting for the countdown. When the games begin does your character head straight into the forest, do they try for some of the supplies closest to them or do they fight their way to the Cornucopia and the best supplies? How will this reflect the way they try and survive.
- Once Upon a Time: Imagine your MC is in Storybrooke, which fairytale character would they be revealed to be? Think about how their journey parallels with well-known characters, whether in their fairytale or Disney form.
- Star Wars: Is your character sensitive to the Force? Think about how they would use this. Not all people sensitive to the Force become Jedi (Leia) but they can still use it to connect with the world around them. Would your character choose the Light or the Dark side, and if they chose the Dark side is there a chance for redemption?
- Supernatural: Would your character condemn themselves to hell to save the life of someone they loved? Whether that person is family or not, consider how far they’d go for the people close to them and whether that choice would be justified in the others eyes.
- Game of Thrones: Which Game of Thrones House and their words does you character most associate with? House Stark, winter is coming; House Tyrell, growing strong; House Greyjoy, we do not sow; House Lannister, hear me roar; House Arryn, as high as honour; House Baratheon, ours is the fury; House Tully, family, duty, honour; House Targaryen, fire and blood; House Martell, unbowed, unbent, unbroken; House Bolton, our blades are sharp.
- Game of Thrones: What would be the sigil and the words of your characters House? What words and image would represent your character.
- Avatar – The Last Airbender: In the world of Avatar, what element would your character bend? What do you think this says/represents about them. Remember also that maybe they are a non-bender and if so that still speaks a lot about them.
- Percy Jackson: Which cabin at Camp Half Blood would your character belong in? Which Greek God are they descended from or do they not know (so would find their home with Hermes). 1 Zeus, natural leaders, strong and brave; 3 Poseidon, clever and fighting skill; 4 Demeter, good looking, good natured and good with plants, 5 Ares, brave warriors; 6 Athena, strategic; 7 Apollo, excellent archers and musically gifted; 9 Hephaestus, craftsman, strong and gruff; 10 Aphrodite, beautiful and social; 11 Hermes, pranksters and adventurers; 12 Dionysus, fun and know how to throw a party.
- Marvel Cinematic Universe: Your character is one of the Avengers, cue the latest film (Civil War), would your character sign the Sokovia Accords? This tells you a bit about their morality and their view of right and wrong. Look at both sides from their perspective.
Bonus non-fandom specific question: Make a morality alignment chart for the characters in your novel. Decide which character best fits these terms; lawful good, neutral good, chaotic good, lawful neutral, true neutral, chaotic neutral, lawful evil, neutral evil, chaotic evil.
These are just a few questions to get you thinking about your characters in a different world beyond their own and how this can represent them in your story.