How to conduct an effective, revealing interview

Of a fictional character

That’s right, main, minor or your imaginary muse. You can conduct an interview and discover all sorts of stuff about them.

You can be formal and all Dragnet, “Just the facts.” Using a basic character template that fills in stuff like name, rank, eye color, height, weight, marriage status, etc.

Or you can get creative and let your freak fly free with wild questions.

This is your interview so ask away.

I’ve never seen anyone have fun with the process as much as Dan Alatorre did in a recent post. Character Interview: Samantha (Sam) From Poggibonsi.

Dan’s post got me to thinking, which by the way, is not always easy. What if I were to conduct a conversation before I sit down to write a scene? A shortened version of an interview?

Who doesn’t enjoy talking about themselves? Especially, fictional people. What better way to get a story flowing than taking a minute to ask questions?

Every writer, at some point or another, encounters a reluctant character who fails to show up for work. Why not call them and find out why they are a no-show?

 

How would that phone call go?

Phone pressed to my ear, I glanced at the clock on my desk for the umpteenth time.

“Come on, answer the damn phone EJ.” I cursed at the continued ringing in my ear. No way would I would not leave another voice mail. I hated voice mail.

“Hello.”

“God almighty EJ! You’ve got the phone upside down.” I screamed into the phone.

“That better?” Her laughter echoed through the phone. Someone had a fun night and it wasn’t me.

“Are you still in bed?”

“No, no I’m up.”

“Did you plan on showing up today?” My jaw pops, and my left I twitches as I mentally count to ten.

“Yeah, sure. What time is it?”

“Nine thirty, and I’ve been waiting since seven.” I take a deep breath, rotate my head hoping to loosen the strangling tension in my neck. “We were gonna write the next chapter this morning.”

“Sorr-ee. So I’m a little late. Keep your panties on, there’s still time to get it done.”

“What happened, one too many margaritas last night?”

“No, only a couple. But I was on a roll and stayed up till past one writing a kick ass murder…”

“Stop right there EJ.” I did not want to hear about a new project. “You promised to finish this book before you started another one.”

“God Almighty Jean, I can work on more than one project at a time.”

“No, you can’t. Mine will fall on the back burner. I know you.”

“Good grief. I’m leaving now. Hear?” EJ rattled her keys against the phone.

“Give me a hint, and I’ll start writing the next scene.”

“You know, I can’t think until I’ve had coffee. Maybe I’ll stop at Starbucks.”

“No! Get over here, I’ve got a fresh pot brewing. I can’t write without you.”

Her laughter is muffled by the car engine. “Bless your heart, you are lost without me.”

My eyes drift from the clock to the blank screen of my laptop. I hate waiting, and EJ knows it.

How would you interview your protagonist this morning?

Have you ever tried something like this?

What type of interview do you prefer? Just the facts or a more creative approach?

Below I’ve listed several great articles about different ways to interview a character. Read and enjoy.

Talk to me – I love reading your comments.

Please head over and “like” my Facebook page at Facebook at jeanswriting . Or to connect with me, click the “write me” tab. Don’t forget you can follow me on StumbleUpon,  on Twitter @jeancogdell , and Amazon.com.

Please stop by and say “hey!”  I’ll leave a light on. 

Four Methods For Interviewing Characters by Laurie Campell

CHARACTER SHEETS AND CHARACTER CREATION

Interviewing a Fictional Character 

How to Interview Your Character  by

Interview Your Characters  by

Interview Questions for Your Main Characters

Flesh out your fictional characters by having Redditors interview them by Lauren Davis

Artwork courtesy of Pixabay.com and Canva

 

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25 thoughts on “How to conduct an effective, revealing interview

  1. I think I mentioned this somewhere else, too, but at the outset of conducting what is basically an interview with yourself via a character, it seems like a silly exercise. Then you start and you realize you really need to know the character to do it realistically. And it’s suddenly fun!

    Liked by 1 person

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