A Very Proustian Study

The Proust Questionnaire is about delving deeper into one’s personality. It was presented to Marcel Proust in his teens by his friend, Antoinette. Supposedly such questionnaires were all the rage among English families at the time; Proust’s answers were written in Antionette’s confession album titled “An Album to Record Thoughts, Feelings, Etc.” (from Wikipedia entry, Proust Questionnaire)


I love the Proust Questionnaire. In fact, it’s my favorite part of reading Vanity Fair, reaching the back of the magazine to see who’s answering that month.

I’ve found it’s also a brilliant tool for getting inside my characters’ heads and really learning about them, finding out what makes them tick. I’ve used it for Dev, Wyatt, Ryker, and Darby and fully believe it’s worked wonders in unlocking little quirks about them and better understanding how they relate to one another.

Check out what happens when my character Jools Clayworth gets a little Proustian with it.


  1. What is your idea of perfect happiness? Once upon a time, it would have been anything to annoy my older brother, Wyatt. Now I know better – perfect happiness is a load of shit.
  2. What is your greatest fear? Losing Ryker
  3. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? My use of rage to mask my pain
  4. What is the trait you most deplore in others? Stupidity
  5. Which living person do you most admire? Ryker
  6. What is your greatest extravagance? Smiling
  7. What is your current state of mind? Just trying to survive
  8. What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Patience
  9. On what occasion do you lie? These days, hardly ever, no matter how brutal the truth. Folks don’t like that shit.
  10. What do you most dislike about your appearance? The marks. They are everywhere to make sure I never forget
  11. Which living person do you most despise? Carter Breslin
  12. What is the quality you most like in a man? The ability to forgive
  13. What is the quality you most like in a woman? The ability to forgive
  14. Which words or phrases do you most overuse? Hard to say – lately I don’t have much to say.
  15. What or who is the greatest love of your life? Ryker
  16. When and where were you happiest? Running on the beach at sunset, the water lapping at my feet, the wind in my hair, and a smile on my face. That was so long ago…
  17. Which talent would you most like to have? Sing like Lauryn Hill. She’s human, I know, but talk about badass. I love her.
  18. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? My pain.
  19. What do you consider your greatest achievement? The Death. That’s all I’m going to say.
  20. If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? Please don’t make me come back to this hell hole
  21. Where would you most like to live? A secluded island in the Maldives, where no one can find me
  22. What is your most treasured possession? my bow
  23. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? The Death.
  24. What is your favorite occupation? I only have one occupation – Killer
  25. What is your most marked characteristic? Bringing The Death.
  26. What do you most value in your friends? Loving me regardless
  27. Who are your favorite writers? Judy Bloom and JK Rowling, which shows how long it’s been since I read a book
  28. Who is your hero of fiction? Hermione Granger…duh.
  29. Which historical figure do you most identify with? Vlad the Impaler…just kidding…kind of.
  30. Who are your heroes in real life? Just Ryker. No plural.
  31. What are your favorite names? This question is stupid
  32. What is it that you most dislike? This fucking questionnaire
  33. What is your greatest regret? Agreeing to this fucking questionnaire
  34. How would you like to die? Most days I think I’m already dead.
  35. What is your motto? Survive.

3 thoughts on “A Very Proustian Study

  1. I love the Proust questionnaire too! It really is a great way to figure out what makes someone tick. It’s my fave part of vanity fair. So cool that you like it too. It is a very good tool for writers to understand their characters better. So cool!

  2. Pingback: Getting Proustian With…SHANE EVANS – the interview series | Madhuri Blaylock Writes

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s