For today’s task, take your list of characters and interview each and every one of them. Start by asking their names, what they were doing right before the interview, favorite movie, favorite song, happiest moment, saddest moment, love interests (if any), associations, etc. Be thorough.
Here’s an example of an interview with one of my characters:
What’s your name?
Douglas Samuel Carter, but everyone calls me Doug.
Who calls you Doug?
My friends and family. My wife.
Who’s your wife?
How did you meet?
Seriously? Do you need to know that?
Just answer the question please.
Okay, we met through a mutual friend a long time ago. We were in our 20s. She was friends with a girl I really liked a lot.
How old are you now?
Do you exercise?
I go for a daily walk–usually in the morning–around our property.
Are you rich?
What do you do for a living?
I write, of course. Haven’t you read any of my books? Or my articles? Do you know how to read?
I’ll ask the questions here.
Sure, you will. Your party, eh?
And so on. This interview can go on for hours, and it’s intended to help writers understand their characters better and give them a unique personality–to help them feel more fleshed out and human. It’s an exercise I picked up from Romance Hall of Fame author, Barbara Samuel (aka Barbara O’Neil).
For instance, I’m already learning that my character is a bit conceited and argumentative. He prefers asking questions to answering them, and he met his wife while pursuing her friend. That’s interesting. I will continue interviewing him and learning more before moving over to his wife (the other character in my story).
Now get to interviewing your characters!
Get started in writing!
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Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and a recovering fiction writer. After winning awards and even earning money for his fiction in college, Brewer has barely touched the stuff for the past decade. One of his 2014 goals is to get back into the habit. A former Poet Laureate of the Blogosphere, Brewer is the author of Solving the World’s Problems. Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.
Find more challenge tasks here:
- 2014 Get Started Write Challenge: Day 20.
- 2014 Get Started Write Challenge: Day 19.
- 2014 Get Started Write Challenge: Day 18.