Questions to Ask When Creating Characters - The Interview

    Lights flash, cameras hum. Murmurs join the shuffling of paper on clipboards, as a red light blinks in the corner of the screen. The Author settles into one of the two high-backed leather armchairs. A make-up team flutters about her, applying a dash of blush, spraying a puff of rose perfume, then bouncing her curls one last time.

    "Send them in," calls the producer, from behind the camera's vision. 

    The Author sucks in a breath, smooths down her skirt.

    Character shuffles in and raises a brow. "Was all this really necessary?"

    She rises; extends a hand. "Character. Pleasure to finally meet you. Why don't you have a seat?"



    
    I'm a sucker for character interviews. I don't always write them down, but in the early stages of my writing process, I always at least chat to my characters in my head. I let them talk, and talk, and talk. I scribble down notes in my mental clipboard. I probe and ask and inquire.

    In celebration of the final few days of NaNoWriMo prep, I've been switching things up in my blog series, "Questions to Ask When...". The last two weeks have been all about characters! So if you'd like to dig deeper into your character's mind, and roast them over the coals in an interview, here are some questions just for you:

1) Let's start with the basics. What's your name, age, occupation?

2) Who are you closest to at the moment? Who are you angriest with? Why?

3) How do you feel talking to me? Are you nervous, excited? Are you even going to answer these questions?


4) What's your biggest secret? (Sssh I promise not to tell. Whisper it to me.)



5) Where are you living? Who are you living with? Why? Do you want to live somewhere else? What is your favourite part of your house, and your least favourite? Can you describe it to me?

6) How would you describe the inner workings of your mind? Is it dark, chaotic, bright, organized? Are you afraid of someone seeing it one day?


7) If you learned someone close to you died, what would be your first reaction? Your first emotion, your second? Have you ever lost someone close to you? Can you walk me through that experience?

8) What is your greatest strength? Has this changed over time?

9) What is your greatest weakness? Has this changed over time?



10) How would you describe yourself in three words? In one? In six words? How would your mother describe you? Your father, friends, siblings, romantic love?

11) What's your biggest fear? Why?

12) What is your greatest desire/dream? Do you feel it's possible to achieve it, or not? Why/why not?

13) Would you break under torture? How long do you think you would last? Totally not planning on using this in a story. What a preposterous idea.

14) Describe an average day for you. Do you enjoy it? Do you work for money, so you can feed your family, or for fun?

15) Do you fear death? Why/why not? Do you believe in an afterlife? Re-incarnation? That there's nothing left after death? What has shaped your beliefs on that?




16) Do you believe in angels/demons/spirits? Why or why not?

17) If you were in a house on fire, and you could either go into a burning room and possibly save someone, (but there's no guarantee either of you will live), or you could run straight out and live, what would you do?

18) How do you feel about your appearance? Who do you compare yourself to, looks-wise? Who was the first person to call you "beautiful/handsome" and the first person to call you "ugly"?

19) If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go? Why? Does it remind you of someone or a memory? When did you learn about this place, and who/what told you about it?

20) Would you rather go out to a night-long celebration, or stay at home?



21) What are your thoughts on money? Is it something to throw away, cling onto, or detrimental to society?

22) What are five things you believe about yourself?

23) If you could give the younger version of you a piece of advice, what would you say? Do you think your younger self would follow the advice?

24) Would you ever kill? In what kind of situation? Do you think you would forever live with guilt, or would you get over it quickly?

25) The most important question of them all: what's your favourite food?


    I hope these questions will really help you get to know your characters better! Let the interviews begin!

    Quick announcement: at this stage I am seriously considering creating a work-book based on this blog series, with some sweet bonuses. Thanks to those of you who pushed me to think harder about the idea. I'll keep you posted as it progresses!



Do you interview your characters as a way of getting to know them? Or do you use some other method? Tell me about it! Any title suggestions for the work-book? ;)
Good luck with your writing, and have an excellent day! <3 

Comments

  1. Great questions. I do some interviews mostly beautiful people. Other than that I let them come alive on the page, and I let them keep their secrets. I feel like I don't need to know everything about them.

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    1. Thanks Skye! Yes, Beautiful People is great, and so is learning about your characters through writing them. :) I like to leave parts of my characters a mystery too, but knowing some of their secrets helps me out with the plot. ;) Thank you for commenting!

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  2. I have never done a charter interview. Maybe it has to do with my pantser lifestyle, but I get to know the characters as I write them. Not the easiest process since they can be stubborn, but I'm forced to make it work. LOL I have no control.

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    Replies
    1. Haha I feel you Meka! As a half panster/half plotter I sympathise immensely. xD You could always interview them after the first draft if you like! :) Thanks for commenting!

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  3. I haven't really done that many character interviews. I typically need to observe my characters first for a long while before I can interview them. Though these questions will most certainly help when I do!

    P.S. So glad you're doing the book!!!!!!!!

    Catherine
    catherinesrebellingmuse.blogspot.com

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    Replies
    1. Tehee I observe my characters quite a bit too, and sometimes do that first before interviewing. I hope when you sit your characters down in the interviewing chair these questions help! :D

      Yay!!! Thanks for the push. <3 Thank you for commenting Catherine!

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  4. A WORKBOOK WOULD BE SO COOL, LET ME JUST SAY. XD

    Awesome questions! Here are a few other great ones I've used, modified to fit the interview format. :)

    What, if anything, would you like to change about your life?
    What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    What are your long-term and short-term goals?

    Just thought I'd share those. Yours are great!!! :D

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    Replies
    1. YAY I'M GLAD, THANK YOU! xD

      Those are great questions!! Thanks for sharing, and for commenting Lila! <#

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  5. Beautiful <333 I shall use these questions :)

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    1. Thanks so much Lisa! I hope they help you out. <3

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  6. This is a great set of questions! These are seriously so useful. I'm using them for my NaNo prep!

    storitorigrace.blogspot.com

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    Replies
    1. Yay, thank you! Hopefully they really help you get to know your characters better. :) Thanks for commenting!

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