For The Love Of…Character Questions Part 1 by Artemis Crow

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I recently read a Kindlepreneur article by Dave Chesson about building a character questions by asking questions; an interview, if you will. It’s lengthy so I’m breaking it into two posts: The most important questions, then a long list of other questions that you can use fully or pick and choose.

I do always ask and answer the four most important questions as they go to the great plot triangle, goal, motivation, and conflict. The longer list I utilize at times. I hope this helps you build the characters for your next story. November’s National Novel Writing Month perhaps?

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The Most Important Questions By Dave Chesson

That list can be a bit overwhelming. So I thought I’d spend some time discussing the most important questions that you should know before you start writing your book.

And I’ve boiled it down to four essential questions:

1. What Do They Want Most?

Every character should start by wanting something more than anything. It can be living a peaceful life, it can be wanting to explore the wide world out there, it can be protecting someone, it can be finding revenge.

Whatever it is, they have to want it badly.

Desires are what motivate our characters, and they provide us with action and logic behind that action.

They can be especially enticing when pursuing those desires create conflict, the driving fuel behind any good story.

character’s motivation can change and evolve over the course of the novel. This may be in relation to our character flaw that we talk about below. Perhaps that person will realize that the thing they thought they wanted, wasn’t actually what they truly desired.

You’ll see this a lot in Hollywood. Pixar, for example, has got it down to a science.

Character wants something > they try to get it > they encounter challenges to their desires > those challenges help them understand the truth.

Combining that desire and change is a great way to create a satisfying character arc.

2. What Is Their Greatest Fear?

If your character wants something, there must be something else that stands in the way. In a satisfying character development arc, this is done by creating something that your character fears.

Fears create tension in the story, and they provide a superbly personal form of conflict for the character.

They also deepen a character’s backstory, giving us a more well-rounded look at what makes them tick.

If you create a situation where your character must confront their greatest fear to get what they want, you have just created one of the most memorable moments in the character’s development.

3. What is Their Greatest Flaw?

Let’s face it, no one is perfect. We all have some vice, a quirk, or a history we are not proud of.

Characters have these too, or at least, the good ones do.

When you give your character’s personality a flaw, you create internal conflict.

A flaw is a great place to start on your hero’s journey toward change. This is part of what makes a good story, watching the character overcome their flaws, and gain something in return, because that’s essentially what all of us go through.

The flaw in your character’s life will (and should) create problems (conflict). And by combining all three of these essential traits (desire, fear, flaw), you can create real depth to your character, and help chart their motivations when they encounter the situations you put them through.

4. What Is Their Character Type?

Each character has a character type that they usually fit into. This can be the role of protagonist, antagonist, mentor, love interest, etc.

The nature of this role will determine what questions you ask in your questionnaire, and help you get an idea of what kind of character they should be.

Why is your antagonist antagonizing? What causes your protagonist to take action? Why would the love interest be appealing to your protagonist?

In short, knowing your character type can help you determine what kind of person they are. It’s a great place to start.

May Your Words Flow Freely,


The Zodiac Assassins series
Available on Amazon Kindle and Print, Nook and Kobo

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Lyon’s Roar –

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Leona’s Descent –

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Libra’s Limbo –

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Leona’s Cage –

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Gemini Asunder

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