Why You Should Interview Your Characters

Your characters are the heart and soul of your story. Unfortunately, there are plenty of novels out there where they’re used merely as fleshy footballs, kicked around by the rampant plot. But if you want to write a book that grabs your reader and sticks with them for years to come, you need real, fully-formed characters.

However you write, develop your characters first

Whether you’re a plotter or a pantser, I think it’s all a good idea for all writers to do detailed character breakdowns before they begin writer. In fact, it’s probably especially important if you’re a panster as you’ll need to know your little darlings inside out to guide your story.

There are many ways to build your characters, for example using a template with categories like physical traits, early life, relationships etc. But if that’s not your thing or if you want to dig deeper into your characters, why not try interviewing them?

Channel your inner Parky

(That’s Micheal Parkinson, legendary British chat show host and interviewer in case you’re wondering). Now this doesn’t mean you have to jump from one seat to the other pretending to be your character and the interviewer (unless you want to of course, whatever works for you). No it’s more straightforward than that.

Create a template of questions and write your answers as your characters would. You’ll really need to crank your imagination up to eleven here. Don’t just have them answer the questions either. Think about where the interview would take place. Picture what each character would wear (even if the interview isn’t in person). Perhaps your character would refuse to answer some questions or maybe they’d start to ask questions back. All of these bits of information will go towards making your character more real.

And finally, create your questions

There are plenty of resources out there to help you craft an interesting spread of queries. You can start with basics like name, age, where they live, etc. But then you’ll need to think more creatively to get those small yet important details out. Here are some examples to get you started:

  • What three things would you take to a desert island?
  • What’s your earliest memory?
  • What’s your morning routine?
  • How would you describe yourself to a blind person?
  • How did you decide what you wanted to do in life?
  • What were your favourite things to do as a child?
  • Who’s your idol?
  • What’s on your nightstand?
  • What’s your earliest memory?

What do you think? Have you tried interviewing your characters? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Related reads

Can Writing By Hand Boost Your Creativity?

Why You Need To Create A Soundtrack For Your Book

Make Your Writing Real Using The Five Senses


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