Oh, our pesky characters! We think we know who they are. They talk to us, giving us ideas, telling us what they want to do, especially to the other person. But we don’t know them at all. And we usually don’t figure out that that is a problem until later when the plot falters, and we are stuck trying to keep going when we are mired in a world of grey mud.
Clear as day, right?
I just don’t know enough about my characters. They are pretty, but flat, pieces of cardboard. They have no depth, and there’s nothing behind them but a whole lot of empty space. Kind of like that picture of a door in the middle of a meadow – it’s the same in front of the door as it is behind the door. This lack of depth can completely destroy what might have started out as a good story.
So I turn to character interviews. I’ve looked at hundreds of them over the years. I even have a book that covers character development, including interview questions, physical descriptions, and suggestions for how to describe someone. No single one has given me all the of the information I needed or wanted, and I’d end up putting togheter several character interviews to get what I needed.
So why didn’t I just write my own, using the questions I like the best, all in one document? Well, I did, finally. I have a 19-question character interview I use on all main characters. This includes the hero and heroine, and if there is a villain, him or her too. It helps me figure out their motivations, how they feel about themselves, what their goals are, and what bugs them the most. I have a list of 10 optional questions I sometimes use as well. I thought I’d share these with you today, in case they could help you too. Here is a link to a PDF version of the questions.
Do you have questions you like to ask your characters? I’d love to hear them! Leave your comments below!
Fairest of the Faire – available now!
Schoolteacher Connie Meyers is suddenly a young widow, her husband killed in a horrific car accident. Heartbroken to find out he had gambled away everything they had, she moves to her sister-in-law’s Midwest home to rebuild her life. A trip to the local Renaissance Faire with her nieces leads to a summer job as a costumed storyteller.
Avowed bad boy and fair performer Gage Youngblood is infatuated with Connie at first sight. Despite his deliberately commitment-free life, and Connie’s don’t-touch-me attitude, he soon has her in his arms, realizing quickly she is also in his heart.
When she is threatened by her late husband’s bookie, he steps into the role of protector, his fate forever sealed with hers.
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