Ensemble Cast Development Questions


Questions to help you round out, balance, and diversify any ensemble cast you might be developing - whether it's a team of superheroes, a squad of demon hunters, a starship crew, or even regular people who work at the same office. Answer as many as you can (though you don't have to answer them all at once, or if they don't apply to your work), and remember that overlapping answers are good, too!



  • What is each character's motivation for being here? How do their motivations differ? How are they similar? How do they feel about each other's motivations, if they know about them?
  • Do any of them have personal goals that might come into conflict with what what anyone/everyone else wants or is trying to do? If so, what?
  • How do their backgrounds and life experiences differ? How are they similar? How do their backgrounds and life experiences affect how they view each other?
  • What skills and talents do each one of them have that the others don't?
  • What do they do for each other? Is there anything they need from each other? If so, what?
  • How do their senses of humor differ? How are they similar? How do they feel about each other's senses of humor?
  • How do their senses of morality differ? How are they similar? How do they feel about each other's senses of morality?
  • How do their religious/eschatological views differ? How are they similar? How do they feel about each other's religious/eschatological views?
  • How do they react differently to tragedy or disaster? Do any of them react more severely to certain types of tragedies or disasters than the others do? Why?
  • How do the way they react to stress, anger, sadness, etc. differ from one another? How do their coping mechanisms for these things differ?
  • Do some of them get along with each other better or worse than others? Why?
  • If they work or hang out together, how are decisions typically made among them? Why is it done this way? Is this system working out well for them? Does anyone feel it's unfair? Why?
  • What do they disagree about the most? How do they often resolve their disagreements?
  • What kind of disagreements could threaten to split them apart, if they associate closely?
  • How do their hobbies and interests differ? Do they share any hobbies or interests?
  • How do their fashion tastes differ? Why do they all dress the way they do?
  • How have they influenced each other over time? How have they changed each other's views? What have they shared with each other?
  • Is there anything that any of them prefer to keep private from each other? If so, why? And how might they react if the others found out?
  • How much time do they spend together? Are they together on a daily basis? Or perhaps on the weekends? Or do they just come together on certain occasions? Or are they just here together for right now and will part ways soon after? Or is it something else?
  • If they work together, do any of them spend time together when they're off the clock? What do they do together then? Which ones of them spend the most time together off the clock?
  • Are there any places they gather or hang out in? Do all of them go there, or only some of them? Do some of them go to different places together?
  • Who all do they spend time with apart from each other?
  • Do any of them have an especially close relationship with each other, romantic or no? How do the others feel about this?
  • If they work or hang out together, is there a "glue" character, or a pivotal character who holds the rest of them together?
  • When and how did they come together? Did they all come together at once, or did they come together over time? Who all has been there the longest? Who has come in most recently?
  • How often do people come and go? Why?
  • Is there anyone who left before the story started? If so, why? How does the ex-member/ex-members feel about the rest of them now?
  • If the characters are based on archetypes, what makes them more than just their archetypes? What do they do that runs contrary to the usual expectations for their archetypes that isn't simply the opposite or absence of something their archetypes usually do?

Also, take a look at:

Simple Ways To Fill Out & Humanize Your Character
Character Development Questions
Quick & Dirty Characterization Tips & "Cheats"
Character Creation & Development Theory (Or, How To Make Characters 101!)
Tips 'N Stuff For Better Character Design

Basic Tips For Writing Better Ensemble Casts
Couple Development Questions
Basic Tips To Get More Racial Diversity In Your Writing
Basic Tips To Avoid Tokenism
Simple Tips To Put Yourself In The Shoes Of Characters Who Aren't You
Dropping In Characterization Without Dragging The Story



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