Create characters with questionnaires.

NaNo Prep 101 // 2 – Create characters with questionnaires.

The NaNo Prep site has a generous and fun list of resources. This week is all about creating complex characters. I throw in an extra idea for finding out more about your main character in this blog post.

Even though the prepping started with a general plot idea last week, it is very much character-based which is also the theme for this week “Create a complex character.”

I often start with a setting or an idea and from this, I welcome any character who wants to inhabit that world. So this is a bit different for me.

Also, I find it much easier to come up with sidekicks and villains than the protagonist. My lead character often annoys me a little but I learn to like him or her during the travails I put them through. However, when I begin to ask questions, they become alive.

My protagonist based on questionnaires

Complex character questionnaire 1+2

Here are some of the things I came up with after answering the questions from the workbook and the additional questions from the blog post. (Both links found on NaNoWriMo)

Joan is twenty years old and lives in Cincinnati and is a Bengals fan. She has never met her father, who the mother met in Malta during a family vacation. She dreams of going to London to live, but for now, she lives in a tiny designed house on her stepfather’s ground. The dream is to become a well-renowned photographer but makes a living as a school photographer and is not making much progress regardless of the many classes she takes online and in person.

Her favorite outfit is a shirt and jeans and she cares about the environment. She is embarrassed that she likes to take selfies.

She has a minor cross with one of the school teachers she meets on the job. Joan is longing for something to happen and finally, something does when her aunt on her father’s side shows up.

My favorite question was from the blog post. It read, “When was the last time they were held? By who”? I think this is the perfect scene for showing a bunch of things without so much telling.

For my protagonist, her mother held Joan the last time she thought her life was going nowhere as a school photographer without a lucky break for her ambitions as a nature photographer.

Complex character questionnaire 3

If you want an additional set of questions, I made this printable with the Marcel Proust questionnaire a while back. You can fill it out with the answers your protagonist would give or any other character you want to learn more about.

I am looking forward to getting to know my protagonist Joan better over the next couple of months. And create more characters with the questionnaires. [2021 update – this year I am finishing up my memoir so I think I will fill out the answers myself. ]

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