Thursday, October 20, 2011

Okay, Now Spill! - Interviewing Your Character

First off, I'd like to mention I'm participating in Monsterfest 2011, a month-long bloghop for October. My monster topic is The Boogeyman (who's also a character in my novel). If you like researching, writing about, being scared of, and generally appreciating monsters, you should check it out!

Last night in Writers Chatroom we discussed character development, and there were a lot of great tips and suggestions. This morning I found a post over at The Blood-Red Pencil about guess what? Character development. It's a hot topic, and a topic I love to death, so that's what I'm writing about today.

The way I usually develop my characters is simply to write them. I discover them as they tell me their story. But when I need to know more than they're giving me, I look for guides like the one by Jodie Renner from The Blood-Red Pencil. In fact, I think I'm going to try hers with characters from the series I'm working on now.

Character development is not always so easy, though. How do you develop a character you've written who just isn't revealing himself to you? The ladies and gents from Writers Chatroom suggested interviewing the character. Asking him personal questions such as What's your biggest fear? If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? What do you like most about yourself? Where would you go for your dream vacation?

I came up with those myself, but you could ask your character anything you wanted. You could ask him as an interrogator, a reporter, a therapist (one of my faves). You could even give him an open mic session where he could say or do whatever he wanted. I'm not sure what some of my rowdier characters (see my illustration) would do if I asked them to perform for me, though. I imagine some of the quieter ones might even get stage fright. What would yours do?

I'd love to see some of your character interviews. I might post one or two of my own once I get the time to interview someone.

Here are two songs that I felt fit this topic pretty well. Living in a Dream by Finger Eleven and Secrets by One Republic. Enjoy!

video video


  1. Thanks for stopping by my blog! I'm one of your new followers now too!

    To try and get to know characters, if they are being difficult, I start writing a diary from their POV. Sometimes it is just a recounting of what they did that day. Sometimes it is a memory. Regardless--it is something that I use only for me--so I don't have to worry about all those good writing rules. This usually does the trick.

    I also ask myself what that character would do if he/she were me. It's all very trivial, but in my day to day activities, I ask: what would Iva (my current MC) do? Would she buy these cookies? or would she get some healthful apples instead?

    Interviews are super though. If I had the patience to sit down and actually do that, I'm sure it would be useful.

  2. You're welcome! And welcome aboard!

    That's a good strategy too - the diary and the asking what they would do on their daily routines. I love how writers all have their own little ways to develop characters. Each one has to find the way that works best for them.


I'd love to hear what you have to say!

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