Getting To Know Your Characters: 1000 Character Development Questions

February 27, 2013 at 1:38 am

Getting To Know Your Characters: 100s of Helpful Questions

How do you create characters?

It all depends on the story and the individual writer.  We all have different methods and techniques when creating characters.  Personally, I like to free write.  I sit down and write as much detail as I possibly can about my new creations.  When I start a screenplay, I’ve usually got a main character in mind but 100% of the time my original idea changes as I get to know them.

Beyond free writing and other techniques, there are many resources out there that provide quizzes, interviews and questionnaires to help you develop your characters.  These lists of questions are designed to help you truly understand who your characters are and what drives them.  Most of the time, I simply read questionnaires like these just to gain a basic understanding of my characters.

What’s in your character’s refrigerator?  It sounds like an odd question but answering it could give you a ton of helpful information.  Even if it gives you one tiny piece of insight it’s worth it.

At the same time, why not seek out questionnaires about getting to know yourself and answer them as one of your characters?  All of these techniques can help you write better in the long run.

The 100 Most Important Things To Know About Your Character

101 Character Development Questions For Writers

100 Character Development Questions For Writers

50 Questions That Will Free Your Mind

Top 10 Questions For Creating Believable Characters

Character Questionnaire

30 Questions (Character Questionnaire)

Creating Fictional Characters

Character Development: Getting To Know Your Characters

Character Creation Questionnaire

The Writer’s Character Sheet

Interview Your Character

Character Development Questionnaire

Create-A-Character Exercises

Character Interviews

Character Tutorial

Character Chart

2 Character Questionnaires

Character Survey

These links alone offer hundreds of questions that will challenge your creativity and elevate the quality of your characters.  Try a few of them out.

You’ll never know the level of detail you’re capable of until you give it a shot.

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Oscar Aspirations: Screenwriting, Passion & Good Ideas

February 21, 2013 at 12:35 am

The 85th Academy Awards on The Athletic Nerd

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

It’s the category I look forward to most each year.

A screenwriter(s) gets an idea and spends countless hours perfecting every moment.  Slowly, the story takes shape and the characters come alive.  The first draft gets sent out to family and friends.  To producers and actors.  The reviews are all positive but the screenwriter is still critical.  Rewrites.  The very measure of the dedication it takes to succeed as a screenwriter.

A new draft makes it’s way into the right hands and hundreds of passionate artists from all corners of the industry make it their own.  A collaboration.  One tiny idea backed by the passion and commitment of many becomes a film.

It’s released to the world and people relate to the story.  Professionals love it.  Critics love it.  Audiences love it.  Fans around the world discuss all the little details so carefully put in place.  Every word counts.  Every ounce of sweat poured into each sentence is on the screen.  A new classic.

Oscar night arrives.  The competition is tough.  The envelope is opened.  The winner is…

To me, this story is less about the award and more about the inspiring feeling I get when I watch The Academy Awards each year.  Best original screenplay.  A screenwriter’s dream.  It’s a worthy goal but I like to focus more on the passion that leads to the accomplishment.

A good idea is one of the most exciting events in the life of any creative individual.  But a good idea is only as good as the passion you summon to fan the flames.  Imagine having the freedom to write anything you want.  Imagine having the ability to hone your craft and make your screenplay great.  You can.  It may not win an Oscar but dedicating yourself to your script certainly doesn’t make things worse.  Everything you need is staring back at you when you look at a blank page.

It’s an inspiring thought isn’t it?

Oscar Aspirations: Screenwriting, Passion & Good Ideas

The Summer of Screenwriting: The Complete 20 Part Series

December 4, 2012 at 7:12 pm

The Summer of Screenwriting: The Complete 20 Part Series | Screenwriting Blog

20 ARTICLES.  1 SCREENPLAY

The Summer of Screenwriting

Screenwriting procrastination & the guilt that follows

I’m intimidated by the big scenes in my screenplay

The two scenes I came up with in an airport lounge

Getting stuck reading your screenplay before it’s finished

Screenwriting Mistakes: Small moments can have a big impact

When FADE OUT is just around the corner

The return to screenwriting: One Month Later

The soundtrack of my new screenplay

The language of my screenplay needs work

My screenplay lacks the all important little details

Have you ever cried writing a screenplay?

I’m not a screenwriting expert.  I just love to write screenplays

Tomorrow I finish the first draft of my screenplay

I finished my new feature length screenplay!

Who will read your screenplay first?

The screenplay is finished but my printer is broken

The first book I read after I finished my screenplay

What will I do with my screenplay now?

The Summer of Screenwriting: The Journey Ends

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The Summer of Screenwriting: The Journey Ends

The Summer of Screenwriting: The Journey Ends

November 28, 2012 at 8:08 am

The Summer of Screenwriting: The Journey Ends

OVERCOMING THE CHALLENGES YOU SET FOR YOURSELF

The Summer of Screenwriting ends with this post.  The journey is over.

It began as a simple challenge because I felt guilty.  I felt guilty about the lack of effort I put into my screenwriting.  I couldn’t find time to write.  I thought I had lost the passion.  It turns out, I was whining for no reason.  I hadn’t lost the passion at all.  I just let opportunities to write pass me by.

So I issued a challenge to myself.  Finish a screenplay before Summer’s end.  That gave me 3 months.  In order to leave myself with no excuses, I decided to put this blog on hold and really focus on writing something to be proud of.

The day I finished the first draft of my screenplay was one of my proudest moments.  Shut up, sit down & write screenplays.  That’s all I needed to do.  No more excuses.

Then I felt guilty for a different reason.  Why did I wait so long in the first place?  I’m thankful that I don’t currently write for anyone except myself.  (At this point.) There isn’t any pressure to sell it, impress a producer or score an agent.  I’m wasn’t thinking about those things.  I just wanted to prove to myself that I could do it.

This blog resumed on September 15 and since then, I’ve posted 19 articles detailing my summer of screenwriting.  This is number 20.  The final chapter but it is also my opportunity to issue a new challenge.

Finish a NEW feature length screenplay.

I won’t have to impose any deadlines this time.  I’ve learned my lesson.  I love to write screenplays and I’m still baffled that I let so much time go by without writing.  I feel so much better about myself when I’m creative.  I rediscovered my passion because I dared myself to do better.  I can’t guarantee my last screenplay is any good.  But I CAN guarantee my next screenplay will be better.

The next time you get stuck think about this: You have the complete freedom to travel anywhere your imagination will take you.  You can tell any story you want.  That’s inspiring!  Don’t let the pressure get to you.  Remember how much fun it is to write.  I forgot and I’ll regret the year I lost making excuses.

Never again.

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Stay tuned next week for The Complete Series.

The Summer of Screenwriting: The Journey Ends

Who Will Read Your Screenplay First?

November 7, 2012 at 10:04 am

Who Will Read Your Screenplay First? | Screenwriting Blog

July 24, 2012

If you’ve read this blog in the past, it’s no secret that I’m slightly terrified of showing people my screenplays.  Considering I haven’t finished a feature length script in a while, you can imagine the unneeded stress I put on myself.  It’s scary to put so much work into something hoping people will like it.  Eventually your work will reach the eyes of someone other than you.

XTRA | Screenwriting vs Anxiety

It’s a moment between terror and excitement.  Perhaps that’s why I’ve always been scared to allow people to read my work.  You spend so much time wondering what people will think.   What if they hate it?  Most of the time, my scripts reach my family and close friends and then I retire them.

But times are changing for me.  Now that I’ve regained a little confidence in my screenwriting abilities, I feel the need to find out where I stand.  Can I write something that a producer will like?  Is it possible to attract an agent?  I don’t know if this is the proper story to showcase my work but I’m getting closer.  I’m getting excited.

Still, somebody has to read this one!  Basically, I need to stop whining and summon the courage to put myself out there…  Since that day has yet to arrive, I gave my script to my good friend Eric.  He is  a massive film fan, an award winning director and an honest critic of my work.

He’s read nearly every screenplay I’ve ever written and has no problem telling me the truth.  Which is why I wait to hear his thoughts before expanding to the rest of my inner circle.

For someone like me, who has trouble sending work out there, having a friend like Eric is vital.

Obviously, the true test is a reader who doesn’t know me.  I think that’s a test for the final draft.  Until that draft is complete, I think the first reader should be someone you know.  Someone you trust.  There are a couple areas in my screenplay that I have doubts about.  I like to bounce ideas and potential changes off my friend.  This allows me to gauge whether or not my concerns are justified.

Then it’s back to rewriting and refining the script.

When that work is done, I expand to others but this script scares me.  I’ve never written anything so personal and thus, my fear will be doubled once people start flipping through the pages.

Speaking of which, I’m pretty sure he’s reading the script as I type this.  Months of work and someone is finally reading it.

I’m excited…  And scared.

WHO READS YOUR SCREENPLAY FIRST?

The Summer of Screenwriting: Looking Back

I’m happy to report that Eric liked the script.  I’m not as thrilled to report that I haven’t sent it to many people since then.  I got stuck on the idea that I need to complete something else.  If you were to ask me how many screenplays I have worth reading I would answer: One.

The scripts I wrote in the past aren’t as good and I need to prove to myself that I can continue to produce pages I’m proud of.  Thankfully, I’m in no rush.  I just like to write.  The Summer of Screenwriting taught me how to eliminate needless pressure I put on myself.

Maybe someday I’ll sell a screenplay.  Scratch that…  Maybe someday I’ll submit a screenplay.

Until then, I’m having so much fun simply because I love to write.  That’s enough for me right now.