Character Interview

An interview is sometimes a good way to get involved with a new character. It might not start ideas for new characters (at least, I don’t use it that way), but it can really solidify an idea of the person in your head and on paper.

There are sheets out there to use to generate ideas for characters; some of them include everything under the sun from where she was born to why she went to eighth grade wearing pink shoes. While it’s awesome to know all this information, not all of it should be included in the story.

Another useful part about an interview versus character sheets that become one long list, is you can hear the character’s voice. Is he someone who stutters when he’s put on the spot? Are answers avoided? Does your character lie?

Or, even worse, does she sound exactly like the last protagonist from the novel in the drawer? Are only the physical qualities different? Is his vocabulary off from his supposed education and upbringing?

One of my writer friends from my critique group caught a little disparity in the voice of a minor character when he used a little higher word than expected for the ‘child’ that I portrayed him as. Whoops – I’ll be fixing that this week, and I’m hoping with this interview I’ll be able to keep a few more of those errors out of my story.

And I will admit taking time to interview my characters is fun. I have an annoying newscaster who always plays the part of interviewer. Luckily for me, it’s Inter-Dimensional News and she has some sort of truth-box she sets her victims in to get the real dirt on them.

Now if I could just get this current victim character to sign the waiver so she can appear on the show…

6 thoughts on “Character Interview

  1. “Mediocre writers borrow. Great writers steal.” Have at it!

  2. While I’m still fond of my character profile template…this interview idea is something I’ve never thought of before. Great idea!

  3. Sarah, I’m rather fond of your character profile template, too, but I find the only thing lacking is the character’s voice, which I have found myself needing to get closer to lately.

  4. I’ve done both interviews and profiles before. While both can be useful, I don’t like either that much. The way I’ve found the most fun in getting to know a character is to take part in a chat/conversation with someone else, pretending to be that characters.

    We tried it on Twitter recently, I was my angel character and the host had her Prince faery character. Made for an interesting conversation, and the questions other people ask help me discover the character and the world they live in much better than me trying to do an interview or profile. We did it on WDC chat once too. Fun times.

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