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?
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org) and I’ll put you in touch with her.