I wanted to share with you this list of "Essential Questions" that was given to us in screenplay class. It's a list that was created for actors working on character development, so these are questions that actors might ask themselves about a character they're playing. They're also really helpful for writers, though, who are trying to "get to know" their characters better -- whether for a budding short story, stageplay, screenplay, or whatever. Next time you're creating a new character, try answering these questions in the first person -- as that character. They helped me, and I hope they help you!
Kate Weiss' Essential Questions
1. Describe yourself in 3 sentences.
2. How did you get your name? Do you like your name?
3. How old are you? Do you like your age?
4. Who is your best friend? Who are your enemies? What makes someone a friend or an enemy for you?
5. Do people generally like you? Why?
6. How much money do you have? Is that enough?
7. Tell me something significant that happened to you yesterday.
8. Tell me something significant that happened to you in your past.
9. What do you want? What do you need? What's stopping you from getting what you want?
10. What do you like about yourself? What do you dislike?
11. Are you religious? Spiritual in any way?
12. If you could be someone else, who would you be? Why?
13. Who is your hero? Who is your role model?
14. What's your favorite fairy tale? film?
15. What do you hope for? Why?
16. What's your greatest fear?
17. What's your greatest dream?
18. What makes you angry?
19. What do you worry about?
20. What's your ideal death?
21. What's your worst death?
22. I'm obsessed with...because...
23. I can still hear my mother say...
24. I can still hear my father say...
25. I am like...
26. My motto in life is...
27. I never have...
28. I always...
29. Describe your living space.
30. What's the first thing you do in the morning?
31. What do you see in the mirror? Do you like what you see?
32. How do you get ready to go out?
33. Are you loved?
34. Who do you love?
35. Are you happy with your life?
36. Do you have the ability to change your life?
37. What animal are you most like?