For me (in my novels mostly, not so much my short stories), I like to hunt down a picture off Photobucket/Google Images of an actor/actress/celebrity/general person who I would love to see portray said character if it the story were to be made into a film and paste it into a Word Document with a copy of a pre-prepared 'character development questionnaire' I have developed over time. Then comes the fun bit! I tend to answer those set questions in the way that I imagine that character answering them. It can throw up some suprising results. Curious to see what questionnaire I use, take a look below - happy to share : Name and age? Nickname? Who gave it? What is most noticeable about your character’s appearance/physical presence? How does he or she feel about it? Describe his or her voice, verbal ticks, pet phrases etc. Where does he or she now live? Describe the city, town or village, the house itself. Be very specific. Any feelings about this place? Has s/he lived elsewhere? What does s/he remember of these places? What does your character’s bedroom/sleeping place look like? (lots of detail please) What does he or she wear to sleep in? How does your character dress and undress? What does your character dream of at night? What does your character do last thing at night? . What does your character do first thing in the morning? What is your character’s motivation, ambition, or dream—what in screenwriting is called the character’s “dramatic need”? What is your character’s stumbling block? What obstacles are preventing him or her from achieving his or her dramatic need? Class, ethnic group, religious background? Married/ in relationship/single? Give names and specifics. How does your character feel about sex/intimacy? What sexual relationship(s) is he or she involved in? How did you find out the facts of life? Who told you? Was it someone in the schoolyard, your parents, a sibling or cousin? How did you feel when you found out? Exactly what does your character do to make a living (or in the case of a child, what do his/ her parents do; or in the case of independent wealth, how does he or she pass the time?)? How much does s/he earn? Feelings about work? What is the best part of the job, the worst? Who or what does/he fear? What about his or her life would he or she change if s/he could? Does the character have a hobby? Secret passion? (Can be something ordinary like soccer playing or yoga classes or mountain biking or sewing or fixing up old trucks - or an unusual interest like some Greek poet from the third century, or collecting spiders, or walking the tightrope… What would be his or her favourite smell ( why)? What's your favourite time of day? Your favourite time of year? Your favourite piece of music? Your favourite sound? What kind of shoes does he or she wear, (e.g. furry slippers or gumboot or trainers… new or old, style, what colour, fitting properly or too tight or too loose, nice and clean or old and smelly)? Favourite clothes? Describe exactly. Favourite meal? Attitude to food? What is your favourite vegetable? Why? What is your favourite fruit? Why? Describe your favourite place to eat. What is the worst thing that could happen to him or her right now? What vehicles does your character use/own? (for example: bike, skateboard, truck, yacht, stroller, canoe, spaceship, battered pickup, etc.. please be as exact as possible). What are his/her feelings towards it/them. What kind of journeys does he or she make? What is his or her most treasured possession? What illnesses has he or she suffered, if any? What’s his/her philosophy of life? For example’ You’ve got to look after Number 1’ or ‘Never say die’ or ‘Don’t ask for reasons.” What are his or her most strongly held beliefs? What does he or she feel guilty about? Biggest mistake ever made? Best thing he/she ever did? What, right now, does your character want most of all? His or her deepest desire – a glass of water, to get out of her marriage, a new pair of shoes, peace and quiet…? If your character applied for a job, what would they put on the application? How does your character’s physical appearance affect his self-esteem? What are some of your character’s mannerisms? Is your character urban bred or country bred? What is your character’s social or economic class? What kind of work skills does she have and how does this affect her role in the story? How is your character different from others and how does that affect the story? Any physical handicaps? Speech impediments? What makes your character an outsider from the norm in terms of race, gender, sexual orientation, age, or ability? In what ways is your character conflicted? What is your character’s deepest secret? Do you have siblings? Are your parents still alive? What's the best advice your parents ever gave you? What's the worst? How well did you know your grandparents? Aunts and uncles? Did you have a favourite? Was there ever a secret you had that someone exposed? How did you feel when that happened? Describe someone who is the complete opposite of you. Do you know anyone like that? Are your parents or siblings like you? Or opposite? Or in between? Do you have a TV? What's the best thing about TV? What's the worst? List five things you'd do if you didn't have one. How often do you listen to the radio? Who was your favourite teacher when you were 8? When you were 15? What thing do you like doing the most? Describe it in detail. List ten things you would want to have if you were the last person on earth? List ten things you would need. List ten things you wouldn't. In your view what is humanity's greatest invention? It's greatest achievement? List five reasons for each as to why they are the greatest and why they are the worst. Do you like you? Do you enjoy your own company? What is in your character’s pockets? What object would your character most hate to lose? Picture your character’s hands and describe them. What does he or she use them for? What rituals are associated with his or her hands? Picture your character’s hair. How does he or she wear it? How does he or she handle it or touch it? I apologise for any repeat questions. But I am also curious - what are your methods for building/developing a character?