Epic Character Questionnaire

Author: Anastasia V. Pergakis // Category:

Yes, I am completely insane! I was reading blogs yesterday evening and I stumbled upon a post someone made, talking about interviewing your characters. Links were included to a few different lists of questions to ask your characters. Well, me being me, I saved all five or six lists. I printed them out and was looking them over and discovered that none of the questions really repeated themselves beyond "Name, age, appearance." Again, me being me, decided to put them all into one organized list. Well, through the organization/merging process, I thought of more questions to ask!

The result? A 253-question interview!

Yes, I said it already, I am completely insane.

But, since I am also totally awesome, I am going to share this epic character questionnaire with all of you! I'll be nice and split it up for you so that you don't lose your mind! So here is the first 4 sections of the list. There are 16 sections total, so come back to get the rest of the list! *Update, 4/5/10, the entire list is here in this one post.*

The questions are written in a way that you would literally ask your character. Like they are sitting right in front of you - the "you" in the questions is your character.

Please let me know what you think of this and since we've established my lack of mental stability, please feel free to add any questions that you feel fit in this categories!

Part One: The Basics

1. What is your name?
2. Do you have any nicknames? If you do, who gave it to you and why?
3. How old are you now?
4. When were you born?
5. Where do you call home now?
6. To what social class do you belong?
7. What is your eye color?
8. What is your hair color?
9. Do you have any distinguishing facial features?
10. Do you have any birthmarks? Where are they?
11. Do you have any scars? How did you get them?
12. Do you have any tattoos or other markings? How and why did you get them?
13. Do you have any allergies, diseases, or other physical weaknesses?
14. Are you right or left handed?
15. What does your voice sound like?
16. How do you dress most of the time?
17. How do you dress up?
18. How do you dress down?
19. What do you wear when you go to sleep?
20. Do you wear any jewelry?
21. What words and/or phrases do you use frequently?
22. Do you have any quirks, strange mannerisms, annoying habits, or other defining characteristics?
23. Do you have any bad habits? If so, what are they and how do you plan to get rid of them?
24. Do you have a lifelong dream or aspiration?
25. Do you own a car (or other form of transportation)? Why or why not? Describe it.
26. What is your current state of mind?

Part Two: Family

27. How close are you to your family?
28. Do you have a spouse or significant other? Describe them.
29. Have you started your own family? Describe them if you do. If not, do you want to? Why or why not?
30. Who was your Father and what was he like?
31. Who was your Mother and what was she like?
32. Who are you closest to in your family?
33. Is there someone in your family you wish you were closer to?
34. What was your parent’s marriage like?
35. Did they remain married? If not, how did that affect you? When did they split?
36. Do you have any siblings? What are/were they like?
37. What is the worst thing one of your siblings ever did to you?
38. What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done to one of your siblings?
39. When’s the last time you saw a member of your family? Where are they now?
40. Did you meet any other family members? (Aunts Uncles, etc) Describe them.

Part Three: Friends and Relationships with Others

41. In general, how do you treat other people that you have just met?
42. Does your treatment of people change depending on how well you know them and if so how?
43. Who is the most important person in your life and why?
44. Who is the person you respect the most and why?
45. Who are your friends? Describe them.
46. Do you have a best friend? Describe them.
47. Who would you turn to if you were in desperate need of help?
48. Do you trust anyone to protect you? Who and why?
49. If you died or went missing, who would miss you?
50. Who is the person you despise the most, and why?
51. Do you tend to argue with people or avoid conflict?
52. Do you tend to take on leadership roles in social situations?
53. Do you like interacting with large groups of people? Why or why not?
54. Do you care what others think of you?
55. What habit do others have that annoys you the most?
56. What is the most important quality you look for in a friend?
57. What do you most value in your friends?

Part Four: Growing Up (Childhood)

58. Where were you born?
59. Where did you grow up?
60. How would you describe your childhood in general?
61. What is your earliest memory?
62. What is your fondest childhood memory?
63. What is your worst childhood memory?
64. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
65. As a child, what were your favorite activities?
66. As a child, what kinds of personality traits did you display?
67. As a child, were you popular? Who were your friends, and what were they like?
68. As a child, what was your favorite toy?
69. As a child, what was your favorite game to play?

Part Five: Growing Up (Teen/Young Adult)

70. How much schooling have you had?
71. Did you enjoy school?
72. Where did you learn most of your skills and other abilities?
73. While growing up, did you have any role models other than your parents? Describe them.
74. While growing up, how did you get along with the other members of your family?
75. How old were you when you went on your first date? Describe the date.
76. What is your favorite memory from your teen years?
77. What is your worst memory from your teen years?
78. When and with whom was your first kiss?
79. Are you a virgin? If not, when and with whom did you lose your virginity?
80. Describe any influences in your past that led you to do the things you do today.

Part Six: Past Influences

81. What do you consider the most important even of your life so far?
82. Who has had the most influence on you?
83. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
84. What is your greatest regret?
85. What is the most evil thing you have ever done?
86. Do you have a criminal record of any kind?
87. When was the time you were the most frightened?
88. What is the most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you?
89. If you could change one thing from your past, what would it be, and why?
90. What is your best memory?
91. What is your worst memory?
92. When and where were you the happiest?

Part Seven: Beliefs and Opinions

93. Are you optimistic or pessimistic?
94. What is your greatest fear?
95. Have you told any one your fear before?
96. Who would be the one person you’d never tell your fear?
97. What are your religious views?
98. What are your political views?
99. What are your views on sex?
100. Are you able to kill?
101. Under what circumstances do you find killing to be acceptable or unacceptable?
102. In your opinion, what is the most evil thing any human being could do?
103. Do you believe in the existence of soul males and/or true love?
104. What do you believe makes a successful life?
105. How honest are you about your thoughts and feelings? (Meaning do you hide your true self from others and in what way?)
106. Do you have any biases or prejudices?
107. Is there anything you absolutely refuse to do under any circumstances? Why?
108. Who or what, if anything, would you die for? (or go to extremes for?)
109. What is your best feature, in your opinion?
110. What do you think of drugs and alcohol? Are there any types that people should never do? Why or why not?
111. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
112. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

Part Eight: Likes and Dislikes

113. What is/are your favorite hobbies and pastimes?
114. What is your most treasured possession?
115. What is your favorite color? Why?
116. What is your least favorite color? Why?
117. What is your favorite food? Why?
118. What is your least favorite food? Why?
119. What is your favorite sound? Why?
120. What is your least favorite sound? Why?
121. What is your favorite smell/scent? Why?
122. What is your least favorite smell/scent? Why?
123. What, if anything, do you like to read?
124. What is your idea of good entertainment?
125. How do you spend a typical Saturday night?
126. What makes you laugh?
127. What makes you laugh out loud, hysterically?
128. What makes you cry?
129. What makes you cry, hysterically?
130. What, if anything, shocks or offends you?
131. What would you do if you couldn’t sleep and had to find something to amuse yourself?
132. How do you deal with stress?
133. Are you spontaneous or do you always need to have a plan?
134. What are your pet peeves?
135. Where do you go when you’re angry or depressed?
136. What do you do when you’re bored?
137. What type of music do you like? Favorite bands or musicians?
138. What tape or CD hasn’t left your player since you bought it? Why?
139. What song is “your song”? Why?
140. What is your favorite movie? Why?
141. What is your least favorite movie? Why?
142. What is your favorite stage play? Why?
143. What is your least favorite stage play? Why?
144. What is your favorite book? Why?
145. What is your least favorite book? Why?
146. Who is your favorite author/writer? Why?
147. Who is your least favorite author/writer? Why?
148. What do you watch on Television?
149. What annoys you more than anything else?
150. What time of day is your favorite? Why?
151. What time of day is your least favorite? Why?
152. What kind of weather is your favorite? Why?
153. What kind of weather is your least favorite? Why?
154. What is the most beautiful thing you have ever seen?
155. What is the most awful thing you have ever seen?
156. What is your favorite drink? Why?
157. What is your least favorite drink? Why?
158. What is your favorite animal? Why?
159. What is your least favorite animal? Why?
160. What sorts of things embarrass you?

Part Nine: Self Image

161. Describe a normal day for you.
162. How do you feel when your routine is disrupted?
163. What is your greatest strength as a person?
164. What is your greatest weakness?
165. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
166. Are you generally introverted or extroverted?
167. Are you generally organized or messy?
168. Name three things you consider yourself to be very good at.
169. Name three things you consider yourself to be very bad at.
170. What are your reasons for being an adventurer or heroic? Are your real reasons different than the ones you tell other people in public? If so, detail both reasons.
171. What three words best describe your personality?
172. What three words would others probably use to describe you?
173. What about you is heroic?
174. Are you a better lead or follower? Why?
175. What is your responsibility to the world? Why?
176. What do you like about yourself?
177. What don’t you like about yourself?
178. What do you find most relaxing? (not stress relief, but something that actually calms you down.)
179. What talent would you most like to have?

Part Ten: Occupation & Finance

180. What is your occupation? (If you don’t have one, where does your money come from?)
181. Do you like your job?
182. What is your boss/employer like?
183. What are your co-workers like?
184. Do you get along with your co-workers?
185. Which co-workers don’t you get along with and why?
186. What is something you had to learn that you hated?
187. Do you tend to save or spend your money? Why?
188. If you were to gain an obscenely large sum of money, what would you do with it?

Part Eleven: Drug & Alcohol

189. Do you smoke, drink, or use drugs? If yes, why? Do you want to quit?
190. How old were you when you had your first drink? Did you like it? Why or why not?
191. How old were you when you first got drunk? What was the experience like?
192. Do you drink on a regular basis?
193. What kind of alcohol do you prefer?
194. Have you ever tried any kind of “mood altering” substance? Which ones? Describe the experience.

Part Twelve: Sex & Intimacy

195. Have you ever been in love? What happened?
196. Have you ever had your heart broken?
197. Would you consider yourself straight, gay, bi, or something else? Why?
198. Who was the first person you had sex with? When did it happen? Describe the experience.
199. Have you ever had a same-sex experience? Describe the experience.
200. What is your deepest, most well-hidden sexual fantasy? Would you ever try it?
201. What was the wildest thing you have done, sexually? Describe the experience.
202. Is there any sexual activity that you enjoy and/or practice that can be considered non-standard? Why do you like it?
203. Do you currently have a lover? Describe them, what you are attracted to, and what the relationship is like.
204. What is the perfect romantic date?
205. Describe your perfect partner.
206. Do you ever want to get married? When do you see this happening?
207. Do you want children? Why or why not?
208. What is more important, sex or intimacy? Why?
209. What was your most recent romantic relationship like? Who was it with?
210. What’s the worth thing you’ve done to someone you love?

Part Thirteen: Morality

211. What one act in your past are you most ashamed of?
212. What one act in your past are you most proud of?
213. Have you ever been in a physical fight before? Over what, with who, and who won?
214. What do you feel most strongly about?
215. What do you pretend to feel strongly about, just to impress people?
216. What trait do you find most admirable and how often do you find it?
217. Is there anything you think should not be incorporated into the media or arts? (i.e., sex, violence, etc). What and why or why not?
218. Do you think the future is hopeful? Why or why not?
219. Do you think redemption is possible? Why or why not?
220. Is there something you think is absolutely unforgivable? What is it?
221. Is it okay for men to cry?
222. Is it okay for you to cry?
223. What do you think is wrong with most people, overall?
224. What is the worst thing you could ever do to someone you hated?
225. Do you have feelings that disturb you? What and why?
226. On what occasions do you lie?
227. Do you think it is okay to lie?

Part Fourteen: Supernatural Awareness

228. Tell the story of how you became what you are or first learned of your own abilities.
229. What do you think now of being supernatural? Is it cool or have you been screwed?
230. Do you have a mentor? Describe them and how you became their student.
231. Do you have any magical items? Where did you get them?
232. Think of a major event that happened during your training/initiation. Describe the experience.
233. What is something you had to learn during your training that you hated? Why did you hate it?
234. What is something you had to learn during your training that you loved? Why did you love it?

Part Fifteen: Goals and Future

235. What goal do you most want to accomplish in your lifetime?
236. Where do you see yourself in five years?
237. If you could choose, how would you want to die?
238. If you knew you were going to die in 24 hours, name three things you would do in the time you had left.
239. What is the one thing for which you would most like to be remembered after your death?

Part Sixteen: Misc.

240. If you could, what advice would you, the hero, give to the villain? Or If you could, why would you, the villain want the hero to be at your side or part of your team?
241. What was the worst injury you’ve ever received? How did it happen?
242. How ticklish are you? Where are you ticklish?
243. What would you wish for if you ever found a genie?
244. If your house burned down, what one thing would you want to save?
245. Describe yourself sitting in your favorite spot.
246. How do you go to sleep and how do you wake up? (position, routine, etc)
247. What is a dream (during sleep) that you have often?
248. What is a day dream that you have often?
249. If you were to die and come back as any person or thing, what or who would you want to be?
250. What is your motto?
251. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
252. What time period do you wish you could have lived in? Why? (This is not a chance to change history.) What appeals to you about this era?
253. If you could go back to any point in history and change something, what would it be?

**Don't forget the Body Language Blogfest April 24th! Sign up now!

20 Responses to "Epic Character Questionnaire"

Dawn Embers Says :
April 4, 2010 at 4:09 AM

Wow. That is awesome. I've only done a few character sheets in the past, and some interviewing for nano prep but nothing that extensive. I may have to use yours because it might be better to know the information ahead of time. As opposed to randomly finding out while writing a chapter that the character is left handed.

Look forward to the rest of the questions.

Harley D. Palmer Says :
April 4, 2010 at 4:23 AM

I read another blog somewhere a while back that suggested if your character is left handed that you should answer any questions for them with your left hand (and vise-versa).

Myself, I'm right handed so writing with my left hand would be a mess but it sure would help really get into the character's head to write with my other hand that way.

In my psych class we did an experiement - write five words about yourself with your dominant hand, then turn the page over and write five words about your self with your other hand. The difference was astounding! The fact that the right side of your brain control the left hand and vise versa. It's a really interesting experiment!

Anthony J Langford Says :
April 4, 2010 at 4:40 AM

Oh my God you are insane..lol - It's a great idea... i wouldnt be able to answer that for my characters until the end of the book.. i have an idea about them and like them to unfold as i go along..im just not that prepared... but still an interesting exercise... and im sure its very helpful for some people..
thanks for yr efforts.

Harley D. Palmer Says :
April 4, 2010 at 1:43 PM

Anthony, well the blog is Labotomy of a Writer so I don't see why your're surprised at my insanity! LOL

Normally I would not do an interview this extensive. I write on the fly to and add notes as I go along. But I'm in a workshop right now that is teaching us that the more prepare you are before you write, the less rewrite you have to do later! So, I'm in this whole "preperation" mode and this is the result. It has been an interesting workshop so far and I wonder if I'll change my writing style after this.

Ann Elle Altman Says :
April 4, 2010 at 2:52 PM

Thank you for all the time you spent on this. I will print this out and use it.


Angelica Weatherby Says :
April 4, 2010 at 9:18 PM

I'm in that workshop just as well! Though not doing all the assignments... However what a great idea you came across. An insane amount of ?s. lol Wish you luck!

Dawn Embers Says :
April 5, 2010 at 5:16 AM

That's an interesting idea: to write using the hand the character does... for those that write it out by hand. Not of as much use for the computer. I'm not very good at left-handed writing, even though my dad still thinks I'm left handed. I play sports using both but am right handed. Either way, I don't write by hand much anymore. Not good with left and right tends to ache after a short amount of time.

Yay for all the questions. I'll have to save them somewhere so I can use them. Remind me to do character worksheets at some point. It's something I really should do.

E. Elle Says :
April 5, 2010 at 5:26 PM

This is awesome. I saved a copy and will be interviewing my characters sometime this week. Thank you for doing this! You rock!

Harley D. Palmer Says :
April 5, 2010 at 10:21 PM

Dawn - Not it doesn't do much with a computer but with my fantasy characters that don't what a computer is - think of how fun it would be to be them, first looking at it? They wouldn't type as fast as you could! Ha!

Elle - I rock? Why thank you! Let me know how the interview goes for you!

elizabeth mueller Says :
April 6, 2010 at 2:27 AM

Wow, Harley, you're amazing! If you wouldn't mind, I'd love to break it down by segments and post it bit by bit on my blog! Thanks for taking the time to post the questions!!


elizabeth mueller Says :
April 6, 2010 at 2:29 AM

Would the questions apply to the character before the pivotal point in his/her life or during or after? People--including characters--aren't the same after changes of hearts....

elizabeth mueller Says :
April 6, 2010 at 2:31 AM

I've scanned through them, and WOW! I can imagine Moggie (MC from Rock Star) answering them quite readily! Great interview! I think I'll do it, but I'll make sure to mention you!!


You rock! :D

Harley D. Palmer Says :
April 6, 2010 at 10:34 PM

That's fine Elizabeth, you are more than welcome to post it up. I was going to do it in sections also, but my muse was pushing to continue posts about characters and stuff so...

The questions would apply to all areas, just depending on when you want to interview them. I have started asking my character these questions and they are great and reply with both a before and after answer.

Yea, some of them are hard to answer, even if I was answering for myself. And not all of them need to be answered of course, but it definately covers all the bases! Thanks!

J. D. Brown Says :
April 7, 2010 at 2:05 AM

Wow, this is the mother of all character sketches! What to go, Halrey! I'm sure I'll come back and use it!

By W. J. Howard Says :
April 7, 2010 at 11:47 AM

OMG!! But I'll be saving this for future reference. Will go well in the extensive spreadsheet I use to develop a novel.

elizabeth mueller Says :
April 7, 2010 at 1:40 PM

I forgot to mention--the PERFECT character bible! Harley, you're the best! ;)

Carolina Valdez Miller Says :
April 7, 2010 at 1:52 PM

Definitely an epic character guide. Nicely done.

Jackee Says :
April 7, 2010 at 5:20 PM

This is absolutely WONDERFUL! Thanks for posting it! (And no, we don't think you're insane.) :o)

Harley D. Palmer Says :
April 7, 2010 at 8:58 PM

Elizabeth: Thanks so much! That makes my day!

Carolina: Thanks for stopping by and becoming a follower!

Jackee: You're welcome! Don't think I'm insane ay? Well I suppose that someone had to make the list so...I'm just enough off the line of normal that it was me! LOL

chandra Says :
August 17, 2011 at 8:35 AM

This was pretty interesting! loved the questionnaire!

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