Abstract Character Building Questions for the Hungry Writer

Odd Title, I know.

But, do you find yourself working on your characters backgrounds, their motivations, deepest fears , and all of the prompts that get put forth are


But so super vanilla?

Let me try a different angle.

Could you answer me the below questions about your friends? Or more readily answer me about their quirks, idiosyncrasies and tells.

Everyday Questions to Answer

  • How tall are they? What do they roughly weigh? What colour are their eyes?
  • Where were they born? Zodiac Sign? What is the name of their parents? How many siblings do they have?
  • What have they wanted to do when they #growup since being a child?
  • Who are their best friends?
  • Bad habits? Hobbies?

Now don’t get me wrong. Those are good questions to be able to answer. They’ll help you flesh out and build your characters motivations.

But they’re kinda boring right?

Out of the Box Prompts to Flesh out Your Characters

  • How do they swear? Do they reference their worlds mythology/religion? Is it based around sexuality / physicality? Do they use curse words? Does it reference a mans station in the world? Do they take a perverse satisfaction in being creative, or do they always rely on a #yeoldefaithful
  • If all of your characters stood in a line up. How could they be distinguished or recognised by their silhouette? Hands in their pockets? Large Hat? Tall with long legs? Always smoking a pipe? Weight thrust on to one leg? Head cocked to the side? Flipping a coin or clutching their purse?
  • If their favourite song was playing, how would they express their enjoyment? Tapping their fingers, singing along? Getting up and busting it out?
  • When they reach their main goal, how do they plan on celebrating? Favourite Food? Something sparkly? Is the end goal a reward enough? Kiss the girl?
  • If they won $1 million right now. What would they do?
  • They’ve saved the day, got the girl, conquered their goals. What do they do next? What do the fantasise about when this is all over?
  • Who would be their style icon? Whether they are in a Sci-Fi/Fantasy to a Historical Romance, would they dress like Madonna if they could? Bowie? Stepford Wife? Are they a secret fan of lace and big sleeves? Or more colonial straight laced?
Have you got some great questions or prompts you use when crafting our darlings?

Share, by popping them in the comments below x

PS – This post was inspired by an episode by the fabulous Podcast, Writing Excuses. If you don’t already consume everything they produce; fix yourself. Get on it. They’re fantastic.

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