Wednesday 18 November 2015

The Gladstone's Library Character Questionnaire

Gladstone's Library, Hawarden, Nr Chester
Oh, character questionnaires... interesting things - often saying more about the inventor than the character. 'What colour hair have you got? Eyes? What is your favourite animal? What do you wear to go out on a Friday night?' and so on. There may well be interesting things to discover about a character behind those questions, but quite honestly, do I care?
And yet, hot-seating a character can be a very useful thing to do, for some writers. So - on my recent short fiction course at the glorious Gladstone's Library, thirteen writers invented their own - what did they really want to know about their newly emerging characters? What might open up stories? 

In no particular order, then, here it is. Let me know if it's useful!

The Gladstone's Library Character Questionnaire. 

What are you carrying?

Can you keep a secret? Are you? What?

Where is your heart?

Where do you gravitate to in a room full of people?

What is your default behaviour under pressure?

What was your last big decision?

Who is your nemesis?

What is your biggest regret?

Who would you most like to say sorry to, and why?

What is your earliest memory?

Do you believe in a god? 

Are you spiritual?  Give an example?

What is your worst nightmare?

What do you cherish most?

Who do you cherish most?

How did your parents meet?

What would you most like to change about yourself?

Why do you dress like that?

How do you travel?

Who and what, from your past, are you still angry with?

What is the most significant event of your life?

What do you do for pleasure?

When and where were you most happy?

What do you think of yourself?

How do you believe others see you?

How would you like to be remembered?

If you like this, perhaps you might also like the responses the writer Marcel Proust gave to similar list of questions posed by a friend. He is talking about himself of course, but actually, this is a lovely list too. 

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