> What is the best way to get to know someone? Talking to them of course. It’s not much different with fictional characters. They may not be real people but they should be real to us. And one way to know them better is to interview them. You can draw up motives and feelings and get the dirt on a character’s background. Like most aspects of writing, there are no rules for how to do this. But I do have some tips that may help you get started.
Ask focused questions. For example, I wrote a story from the husband’s perspective about a troubled couple that miscarried. But I really didn’t know how he felt about it all. So I asked questions like, ‘Did you want the baby? Did you feel the baby would help your marriage? Did you feel pressured from your parents and in-laws?’ Aim to ask questions that will expose how the character really feels.
Answer naturally. Don’t force the answers. You may have to think about how to answer but that’s why it works. Don’t worry about every word being relevant to your purpose for interviewing. Anything extra you discover about the character in the process is relevant to you.
Think like the character. Don’t answer the questions how you would answer. Answer them as if you are the character even when his or her point-of-view doesn’t match your own. That’s not always easy but you’re digging for what makes the person tick and you won’t find that out by fudging the truth.
If you’ve never tried character interviewing, I suggest you do. It’s a fun and revealing exercise that may land you with some juicy content for your story or novel. You may feel a little crazy, but if you didn’t, you wouldn’t be a writer.
Interview one character from something you’re currently working on. Your Goal: To learn more about the character, revealing something that will deepen his or her presence on the page.