Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Capturing Your Character’s Whims as You Write

by DiAnn Mills @DiAnnMills

Exploring our character’s whims gives the writer insight into juicy morsels of personality and unusual plot points. Those impulses, sudden desires, and uncharacteristic actions make our characters real to the reader. The reader can experience the story through an original outlook on life. Perhaps the reader can identify with the emotions and behaviors enhancing the adventure.

How do we capture those special moments and build them into our story? 

Ask the character the following twenty questions to see if he/she is a candidate for extended plot development, growth, or positive change through whims.
  1. Are you an introvert or an extrovert? On a sliding scale, where do you fit?
  2. Describe the most bizarre thing you have ever done?
  3. Have you been accused of not-thinking before acting on impulse? Share three events in which you fit this mode.
  4. Do you ever deviate from the usual or expected?
  5. Quirky is as quirky does. If this fits you, explain how.
  6. What is your career? How does it fit your personality?
  7. Have your habits ever gotten you into trouble? How? Did you change your behavior as a result? Why or why not?
  8. Where do you live? If this isn’t your ideal home, what is?
  9. Do you dress to please yourself or others?
  10. Are you aware of any phobias? What are they?
  11. What would you wear to a costume party? Why?
  12. If you could be a superhero, who or what would you be? What would be your superpowers?
  13. Do you prefer people or animals?
  14. Have you ever broken the law?
  15. Does anyone refer to you as a rogue?
  16. Do you have a sense of humor? Describe.
  17. What makes you feel brave?
  18. If you could design a treehouse, what would it look like?
  19. Have you ever tried to carry on a conversation with an animal?
  20. What makes you crazy?

You’ve established a unique character, so now you can concentrate on the following three questions.
  • How do the character’s traits make an exciting story?
  • What kind of storyline showcases your character?
  • Is your character a true hero or heroine?

Are you ready to write a story that showcases your character’s whims? Will your story be unforgettable?

Capturing Your Character’s Whims as You Write - @DiAnnMills on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Tips to write a story that showcases your character's whims - @DiAnnMills on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests. Firewall, the first book in her Houston: FBI series, was listed by Library Journal as one of the best Christian Fiction books of 2014.

DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Suspense Sister, and International Thriller Writers. She is co-director of The Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference and The Author Roadmap with social media specialist Edie Melson. She teaches writing workshops around the country.

DiAnn is very active online and would love to connect with readers on Facebook:, Twitter: or any of the social media platforms listed at


  1. Great list. Can't wait to do this with my 2 main characters.
    Jay Wright; Anderson, SC

    1. The process gives our characters a unique personality - and makes them memorable.

  2. I can see how "Interviewing Your Character" will add a richness and depth to their development. Haven't been brave enough to attempt fiction since I was just a little boy writing myself into stories in the woods. You make me want to step out on the limb my friend. God's blessings...

  3. I've got several of these on my character interview but not all. Great list, DiAnn. You've given me a few more tools for my toolbox! Ane, rubbing her hands together in glee.

    1. Oh, thanks, Ane. I keep adding to my character interview questions too.

  4. What great character questions!! Definitely saving this post and copying these questions for the character I'm trying desperately to get to know! ;) Thank you!

  5. Love it! Excellent questions for my characters!