Interview with a Fictional Character

A great way to build realistic character development is to interview your characters. There are many different ways to go about interviewing a character. You could do a very basic overview (from the outside, looking in) and answer basic questions in a simple character template format.

Full Name

Birthday

Eye Color…etc.

So basic.

It’s like you’re filling out the census for them,  except you don’t have to worry about bubbling your answers in. . But, let’s say your character goes beyond that straightforward template, especially if it’s one of your main stars. What would you ask yourself about your character?

job-interview-gif.gif

Do they have a goal?

What’s their biggest flaw?

Do they have a religion?…etc.

You get the idea. We’re starting to dive a bit deeper here. Now you’re starting to take a step back and are starting to put yourself in their shoes to better understand their fictional life. They’re starting to come to life…THEY’RE ALIIIIIIVE!

Interview your character like I would interview Chris Hemsworth (as Thor) about Asgard or Gal Gadot (dressed as Wonder Woman) about forming the Justice League. Sorry (not sorry, it’s very relevant because of Infinity Wars) about the comic book/film references… moving right along!

Envision your character sitting across from you. Catch a glimpse of their mannerisms and body language in reaction to the personal questions you may ask.

Are you lying to yourself about something?

How did you meet your best friend?

What do you want your tombstone to say if you don’t survive this mission?…etc.

The more realistic the character becomes, the more you’ll question whether they exist or not. Make your reader believe!

Concrete Is The Best Foundation

Wislawa Szymborska:

“You’ve managed to squeeze more lofty words into three shorts poems than most poets manage in a lifetime: ‘Fatherland,’ ‘truth,’ ‘freedom,’ ‘justice’: such words don’t come cheap. Real blood flows in them, which can’t be counterfeited with ink.”

Emotion in Writing

Laurie Halse Anderson:

“Write about the emotions you fear the most.”

Showing, Not Telling, Pt. 2

Richard Price:

“You don’t write about the horrors of war. No. You write about a kid’s burning sock lying on the ground.”

Show, Don’t Tell!

Fred East:

“If you tell the reader that Bull Beezley is a brutal-faced, loose-lipped bully, with snake’s blood in his veins, the reader’s reaction may be, ‘Oh, yeah!’ But if you show the reader Bull Beezley raking the bloodied flanks of his weary, sweat-encrusted pony, and flogging the tottering, red-eyed animal with a quirt, or have him booting in the protruding ribs of a starved mongrel and, boy, the reader believes!”