Posted in Character Development, On Writing, Post a Day/Week

Interview Your Characters

Every writer has a way to get to know their characters. For some writers this is an incredibly detailed process which involves character sheets, pictures and profiles on social network sites. For other writers the process involves nothing more than writing the character’s story.

For me, the process is different for each character. Some characters come to my mind fully formed and I am able to produce multiple pages about them. Other characters take time to fully form and it is only after the story is finished that I have a grasp on them.

One of the methods that I use is what I affectionately call “The Interrogation” though it could more accurately be known as character interviews. The interrogation is a two-step process which involves coming up with questions and answering the questions.

Coming up with questions can be as simple as searching for character questionnaires or as difficult as deciding what questions you want to ask. If you decide that you want to choose the questions then it helps to keep in mind both your story and the world your story is set in.

The reason you should keep your story and world in mind when figuring out questions is that not all questions will be pertinent to your story. Each story has things that are important. By knowing what is important to your story, you will know what you need to figure out about your characters. For instance, if magic is important to your story you should know if your characters can use magic.

Once you have a list of questions that you feel comfortable with you can begin answering them. There are two ways that you can answer these questions.

The first way is to answer from the character’s point of view. This way is very similar to magazine interviews. I prefer this way because how the answers are given can give further insight to the character’s personality.

The second way is to answer the questions from your point of view. You can do this in point form answers or by writing paragraphs in response to each question. This way of answering is a bit more in-depth for background but can give less information about personality.

Regardless of which way you choose to answer the questions you should know more about your characters by the time you answer the last question.

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Author:

The AP Roberts is an extremely rare creature and there is only one known AP Roberts in the world. Usually off in its own little world, the AP returns to reality when it gets lonely. This elusive creature is rather difficult to catch on film, however will pose for drawings. The AP, though wild by nature, can be tamed and makes a wonderful pet. It should also be known that while the AP gets along with most creatures it has an intense fear of insects and large canines. The AP lives on a diet of mainly vegetables and candy but is not known to refuse food that is made and offered through kindness. The drink of choice for the AP is tea though it is known to drink water and juice. There is still much to be learned of the AP however, most agree that the writings of the AP are truly something to behold. Hopefully, one day the AP will find a good Agent creature who will introduce the AP's writings to a good publisher creature and the world will be able to read the AP's works.

6 thoughts on “Interview Your Characters

  1. What I find helpful when figuring out a character is to pick a song that personifies them. Sometimes I’ll use it to understand interactions between characters, too because I think we all need a theme song for ourselves and the events in our lives. Today’s song was supposed to be Bruno Mars’ “The Lazy Song”, but it’s slowly morphed into the “Act One Prologue” from “Into the Woods”.

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    1. That is an awesome suggestion. I never thought of using music to help with characterization before but I can see how it could help some people.

      I enjoy your idea for theme songs to go along with life. Hopefully you get your “The Lazy Song” day soon. 🙂

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