Archive for December, 2013

Character Questionnaires

Next FWA Lakeland Writers’ meetings: January 15, February 12, March 19

How well do you know your characters–both fictional and non-fictional. Consider asking the following  questions!

Character Questionnaire 1

This questionnaire is found in Gotham Writers’ Workshop’s Writing Fiction.

You might start with questions that address the basics about a character:

• What is your character’s name? Does the character have a nickname?

• What is your character’s hair color? Eye color?

• What kind of distinguishing facial features does your character have?

• Does your character have a birthmark? Where is it? What about scars? How did he get them?

• Who are your character’s friends and family? Who does she surround herself with? Who are the people your character is closest to? Who does he wish he were closest to?

• Where was your character born? Where has she lived since then? Where does she call home?

• Where does your character go when he’s angry?

• What is her biggest fear? Who has she told this to? Who would she never tell this to? Why?

• Does she have a secret?

• What makes your character laugh out loud?

• When has your character been in love? Had a broken heart?

Then dig deeper by asking more unconventional questions:

• What is in your character’s refrigerator right now? On her bedroom floor? On her nightstand? In her garbage can?

• Look at your character’s feet. Describe what you see there. Does he wear dress shoes, gym shoes, or none at all? Is he in socks that are ratty and full of holes? Or is he wearing a pair of blue and gold slippers knitted by his grandmother?

• When your character thinks of her childhood kitchen, what smell does she associate with it? Sauerkraut? Oatmeal cookies? Paint? Why is that smell so resonant for her?

• Your character is doing intense spring cleaning. What is easy for her to throw out? What is difficult for her to part with? Why?

• It’s Saturday at noon. What is your character doing? Give details. If he’s eating breakfast, what exactly does he eat? If she’s stretching out in her backyard to sun, what kind of blanket or towel does she lie on?

• What is one strong memory that has stuck with your character from childhood? Why is it so powerful and lasting?

• Your character is getting ready for a night out. Where is she going? What does she wear? Who will she be with?

Character Questionnaire 2

This questionnaire was invented by the noted French author Marcel Proust.  These questions are frequently used in interviews so you may want to pretend you’re interviewing your characters. 

  •  What do you consider your greatest achievement?
  •  What is your idea of perfect happiness?
  •  What is your current state of mind?
  •  What is your favorite occupation?
  •  What is your most treasured possession?
  •  What or who is the greatest love of your life?
  •  What is your favorite journey?
  •  What is your most marked characteristic?
  •  When and where were you the happiest?
  •  What is it that you most dislike?
  •  What is your greatest fear?
  •  What is your greatest extravagance?
  •  Which living person do you most despise?
  •  What is your greatest regret?
  •  Which talent would you most like to have?
  •  Where would you like to live?
  •  What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
  •  What is the quality you most like in a man?
  •  What is the quality you most like in a woman?
  •  What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
  •  What is the trait you most deplore in others?
  •  What do you most value in your friends?
  •  Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
  •  Whose are your heroes in real life?
  •  Which living person do you most admire?
  •  What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
  •  On what occasions do you lie?
  •  Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
  •  If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
  •  What are your favorite names?
  •  How would you like to die?
  •  If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be?
  •  What is your motto?

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FWA e-News

Next Lakeland Writers Meeting Dates: December 11, January 15, February 12

FWA e-News Florida Writers Association

First Annual Mid-Winter Conference West and Reading Festival

This two-day event (January 10 and 11) will be held in downtown Bradenton. Registration is open from now until January 3, 2014. No “at-the-door” registration will be accepted. The Reading Festival is open to the public, with book-signing and sales tables available toall authors and publishers. For more on the Reading Festival or to fill out a registration for this and future mini-conferences keep an eye on the upcoming events section of the FWA website.

Submissions open soon

Get ready – submissions for the Florida Writers Association Collection Volume #6: The First Step, opens on February 1st. Start lining up your polished works for possible inclusion and an all-important publishing credit.

Coming Mini-Conference Attractions

In addition to the first ever Mid-Winter Conference West and Reading Festival in January, here are some of the other planned conferences coming in 2014:

February 22nd – Lady Lake Memoir Mini-Conference at Lady Lake, Fl
March 29th – Southeast Mini-Conference at Plantation, Fl
April 26th – 3rd Annual Writer’s Nest Mini-Conference at Altamonte Springs, Fl
May 17th – Mini-conference with emphasis on Poetry at Sarasota/Venice, Fl
June 28th – 2nd Annual Nonfiction Mini-Conference at Altamonte Springs, Fl
October 23rd – 6th Annual Florida Writers Foundation Celebrity Workshop at Lake Mary, Fl
Date to be determined – Crime and Police Procedures at Tampa, Fl

New Group Leader

Jennifer “Evergreen” Lee has agreed to step intoRandy Austin’s capable shoes as group Leader for the Kissimmee Writers group. We wish you luck Evergreen, and thank Randy and Pat Semler, co-leader who is also stepping down, for your selfless service.

The Royal Palm Literary Award Competitionwill open for submissions on February 15th. Check out the categories and submit, submit, submit. You may win one of the beautifully designed and crafted awards next year at the annual conference.

FWA seeking Stars

Set your calendars for October 24 through 26, 2014when we meet once more at the Lake Mary Marriott for the 13th Annual Florida Writers Conference. Next year’s theme will be Stars of FWA. If you have never attended a conference in the past, I encourage you to attend, even if only one day. The wide range of workshops led by talented, knowledge professionals offer a unique opportunity to learn from the best.  Stay tuned for more news as the time draws closer.

Join the Conversation in the FWA Network

G.E. Gardiner has been named Community Manager of the FWA Network. He is charged with engaging our online community in activities that encourage  member-to-member interaction in the spirit of “Writers Helping Writers” and has some great ideas. You’ll see new things happening in the coming weeks, but you don’t have to wait to join in the conversation…
Chris Coward
Vice President 
John Cammalleri

Ann Suarez

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