questions to 3-dimensionalize your characters

Thanks to USC fiction-writing professor Rita Williams (whose memoir If the Creek Don’t Rise

is a model of character development) we’re passing along just the few of many questions she

asks her writing students to answer about their characters:



What does your character do under pressure?


  • dissociate
  • regress
  • take a downer
  • take an upper
  • over eat
  • under eat
  • have sex
  • become a sex worker
  • get implants or plastic surgery
  • write a memoir
  • go hunting
  • go to the gym
  • call a lawyer
  • go to law school
  • become a survivalist
  • become a vegan
  • join a gang, a convent, a coven, a cult, the carnival, the circus

Rita has four pages of questions like this.  At our writers’ group the other night she asked, what would you have if your answered all these questions and I responded:  my first novel!


Rita, by the way, is a great writing coach.  If you’re looking for one, contact me (Vickie Pynchon at and I’ll put you in touch with her.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *