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From The Book of Questions
A further source of great questions to ask your characters is the brilliant work The Book of Questions. This is filled with juicy and thought-provoking questions that explore personal philosophy, morality, politics, knee-jerk reactions, secret fantasies, wishes, and much more. It's also a great party activity to sit around with your friends and pass the book around as you each take turns selecting questions for all to answer.
- If your character were to die this evening with no opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would they most regret not having told someone? Why haven't they told them yet?
- Would your character accept $1,000,000 to leave the county and never set foot in it again?
- Your character is given the power to kill people simply by thinking of their deaths and twice repeating the word "good-bye." People would die a natural death and no one would suspect them. Are there any situations in which they would use this power? [If they can imagine themselves killing someone indirectly, could they still see doing it if they had to look into the person's eyes and stab the person to death? Have they ever genuinely wanted to kill someone or wished them dead?]
- What would constitute a "perfect" evening for your character?
- Would your character rather be extremely successful professionally and have a tolerable yet unexciting private life, or have an extremely happy private life and only a tolerable and uninspiring professional life? [Since so many people place great emphasis on a happy private life, why do people often wind up putting more energy into their professional lives? If you feel that their private life is more important to your character, do their priorities support this? Are they simply unwilling to admit that work is more important? Do they use work as a substitute? Do they hope professional success will somehow magically lead to personal happiness?]
- If your character could wake up tomorrow having gained any one ability or quality, what would it be?
- Your character has the chance to meet someone with whom they can have the most satisfying love imaginable - the stuff of dreams. Sadly, they know that in six months the person will die. Knowing that pain that would follow, would they still want to meet that person and fall in love? What if they knew their lover would not die, but instead would betray them? [In love, is intensity or permanence more important to them? How much do they expect from someone who loves them? What would make them feel betrayed by their mate - indifference? Dishonesty? Infidelity?
- Does your character prefer being around men or women? Do their closest friends tend to be men or women?
- Would your character be willing to murder an innocent person if it would end hunger in the world? [Would it torment them more to have the blood of an innocent person on their hands or to know they let millions of people die? What do they think of people who achieve great things by compromising their principles? Many are will to give their own lives but not to take the life of another; is anything so important they would sacrifice their very soul for it?]
- What is their most treasured memory?
- If your character knew there would be a nuclear war in one week, what would they do?
- What is the greatest accomplishment of your character's life? Is there anything they hope to do that is even better?
- One would be the one material item your character would save during a fire?
- Your character is offered $1,000,000 for the following act: before them are ten pistols - only one of which is loaded. They must pick up one of the pistols, point it at their forehead, and pull the trigger. If they can walk away they do so a millionaire. Would they accept the risk?
- If your character could choose the manner of their death, what would it be? [Would they die a hero's death, die a martyr to some great cause, die in a natural catastrophe, or die peacefully? Why is it so tempting to have death catch us in our sleep?]
- For what in your character's life do they feel most grateful?
- How forgiving is your character?
- When your character tells a story, do they often exaggerate or embellish it? If so, why?
- How much does your character feel in control of the course of their life?
- Is it easy for your character to ask for help when they need it? Will they ask for help?
- Would your character like to be famous? In what way?
- What are your character's most compulsive habits? Do they regularly struggle to break those habits?
- What does your character strive for most in their life: accomplishment, security, love, power, excitement, knowledge, or something else?
- How easily embarrassed is your character?
- Does the fact that your character has never done something before increase or decrease its appeal to them?
- How many different relationships has your character had in their life? Would they prefer to have had more or fewer?