Things Every Writer Should Know About Their Protagonist

While working on character development I came up with this questionnaire of vital things I must know about my characters. Its geared toward young adult a bit but it would still work for adult genres as well. I've lumped together questions that are related to one another. I fill this out for every one of my characters. You may find it handy. Answer them from your character's point of view:

1) What is your full name? What name do you go by and why?
2) What do you look like? What are your best and worst features?
3) What is your birth date? Do you celebrate or avoid it and why?
4) How do you prefer to dress? Do you wear any jewelry?
5) What are your parents and siblings names? How old are your
    siblings? Do you get along?
6) What type of people do you fit in best with?
7) Who are your friends? Enemies?
8) Who is your role model or idol?
9) Do you have any hobbies? Sports? Interests?
10) What do/did you want to be when you grow up?
11) What kind of music do you like? Movies? Books?
12) Do you have any bad habits? What habits in others can't you stand?
13) What do you do to relax?
14) What is your favorite food? Drink?
15) Does anything in particular embarrass you?
16) Are you agreeable or do you argue your point?
17) Do you have a temper?
18) Who is the most important person in the world to you?
19) Is there anything you're afraid of?
20) Do you have any secrets?

Use this one or make a list of your own and have fun with it! The important thing is to get to know your characters inside and out, as if their life was your own. The better you know them, the better your story will flow.


  1. Oooo, excellent list! I bookmarked it. :-)

  2. Great post! I think 6, 12, and 18 are particularly revealing. Thanks for the list!

  3. Thanks Shannon! Glad to hear it will come in handy.

  4. 6, 12, and 18 definitely make you dig a little deeper into your character don't they Samantha? Glad you liked the list!

  5. Nice tips! Will definitely come in handy!

  6. Wow, Heather, that is a great list. I'm going to apply it to every one of my characters, too! Thanks so much.

  7. Glad the list helped Mindi and Linda!

  8. One could say the same about their antagonist as well.

  9. Absolutely! Great point J. Sterling. This would be an excellent excercise to do for your antagonist as well!

  10. This is nicely done. the detail has to be known about this--and the antagonist--so that you know how they will interact with one another, because you know they will and the hope is that they will mix like vinegar and water--or something like that. Conflict is the key.

    Good post, as always, Heather!

  11. Ooo, excellent! I always want to know more about my characters. This is a very helpful list. Thanks, Heather!

  12. I really ove that list! Especially the "do you have any secrets". I can imagine a whole plot from that one question alone.

  13. Perfectly put Lorelei, conflict is the key! You're right, I never thought about it that way but if you do this list for both your protagonist and antagonist it should help develop the conflict!

  14. Me too Laura! The more I know the deeper the story gets and I love that!

  15. That last question really is inspiring isn't it Lorel?!

  16. Really like this list. I've found a number of character worksheets, but they seem tedious. This actually seems like fun! Thanks.

  17. Heather,
    Great list! Character development can be so much fun and really get those creative juices flowing.

    BTW, you might want to take a peak at my blog when you get a chance...

  18. Thanks JR, I'm glad you found this one a bit more exciting!

    Oooh, a mystery huh Lisa?! Well I'm off to click over there now...

  19. I love this! Getting inside a character's head is my favorite part of writing... it's like discovering new friends. (Or creating them, I guess.)

  20. I never thought of it that way Krissi, but I love that! Making new friends makes it sound like so much more fun!

  21. I'm copying this list to go on my editing checklist :-)

  22. Aw thanks Portia, I'm flattered!

  23. Great list! I just bookmarked it for my next project. Thanks!

  24. You're welcome Julie! I'm really glad you liked it. :)


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