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.