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I’ve just begun writing a new novel, and one of the things I always do at the start is try to get to know my characters. What works for me is to fill in a character sheet. I start with straightforward questions about name, age, hair colour etc as a warm up, then move on to the more interesting questions – what did you dream of last night? What is your greatest fear? etc. I ask my characters to fill this in in first person, so it is almost like an interview. By the end, I feel I know who they are and what makes them tick. I also possibly have a few ideas for sub plots or back story…

Here’s my list of questions. Do other writers use something similar? I first had this idea from my writing tutor Della Galton but adapted and added to it since then.

Name
Nickname
Age
Date of Birth
Hair Colour
Eye Colour
Face
Height & Build
Voice
Job/career
Favourite food
Favourite drink
A good night out is
Makes me smile
Makes me cry
Soft spot
Really good at
Afraid of
Get furious at
My one wish would be
A good holiday is
My view of money is
My prejudices are
Other people see my main qualities as
Other people see my main faults as
Do I get on with parents and siblings
The worst illness I ever had was
If someone tried to bully me I would
My most defining experience was
The best experience I ever had was
My secret is
Last night I dreamed
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