Character Interviews

Part of being a writer is crafting characters. It’s one of my favorite parts of story building. As a fiction fantasy writer, you can get away with most anything as long you can find a way to make it make sense. You could build a character who’s knowledgeable beyond their years. Or a character who has a devastating backstory he doesn’t like to talk about. Or even create a new species. When I first started writing, I didn’t craft characters like most people do. I didn’t plan out where they came from, what they wanted in life, or even what their favorite food was. I just started writing and my characters built themselves as I went. Not having a plan at the beginning is one way to make writing more exciting, because you’re the first to see those surprises and plot twists. However, when you learn something about a character midway through the book, you end up having to go back to the beginning to update it–which I had to do a lot. One way to try and avoid going back and changing scenes is to craft all your characters before you even start writing. You’ll still run into some hiccups because you can’t predict everything your characters do, but you’ll have a good start.

Remember that Miitomo app I talked about several weeks ago? Well, that app ended up helping me build some of my characters. Not only could I make physical Miis of my characters, but it gave me a chance to interview them by answering several questions for them (433 questions total). I’ve done interviews before for my sci-fi novel, but it always took me a while since I would type it all out in a screenplay format and I would only ask questions pertaining to the plot of the story and how the character view different things in the story. Miitomo made it a lot easier getting to know the nitty gritty of my characters: favorite color, favorite five letter word, animal, etc. Little things that contribute to who they are and what they want from life.

If you’re a writer and you haven’t interviewed your characters, I highly recommend it. Go to a little coffee shop or café with your laptop/journal/etc. and act like they’re sitting right across from you. You could even invite them into your room and ask their opinions about everything hanging on your walls. I firmly believe that the better you know your characters, the better you’ll be able to write your story because you’ll be able to see it from everyone’s perspective.

To give you a little example, I’d like to introduce you to the main character of my completed novel by sharing some of the interview I got from him using Miitomo. His name is Justin, he’s an 18-year-old human, and he can be rather stubborn…

“Alright, Justin, this has a been a long time coming. Glad we can finally sit down and talk.” He only bobs his head at me with his arms crossed. It’s written all over his expression: he does not want to do this. I take a deep breath and hope I can get him to bear with me. “Let’s get right into it: what is one of your current aspirations?”
Justin’s bobbing head slows to a single nod and his expression softens a bit. He was probably expecting a tougher question. “I want to do good for my country.”
“That’s a little vague. Care to elaborate?”
He shifts in discomfort, but his tone is firm. “I’m going to prove that I’m more than the son of an alchemist. That I have worth.”
“I have no doubt about that.” I nod. “Tell me something that’s surprised you the most lately.”
Justin’s brow furrows and I can guess every thing that goes through his mind. “Too many things.”
“Still vague. Can you elaborate?”
He frowns. “Let me put it this way: I’ve lived with my bitter father at home for 18 years. Now, I’m finally in training and live in the barracks at a castle. You’d be surprised by a lot too.”
I chuckle. “I see. Next question: What do you feel the need to apologize for?”
He tightens his arms upon his chest and looks away. “I try not to apologize.”
That’s a lie if I ever heard one, but I won’t push him. “What’s one thing you’ve always wanted in life?” I smile. “Except proving your worth.”
The line of Justin’s frown deepens and he still won’t look at me. I can tell he’s thinking of his home life…his father. It takes him a while to even respond and his words don’t surprise me. “I’d rather not say.”
“You’re not one for talking about yourself, are you?” The look of annoyance he gives me makes me laugh. “Yeah, you get that from me!” I clear my throat and move one. “What’s one luxurious experience would you like to try at least once?”
Justin actually laughs. “I live in a castle now! I think that’s about as luxurious as it’s going to get for me!”
“You live in the barracks as a trainee.”
He grins. “Still a castle, though.”
I roll my eyes. “Alright, what’s the most daring thing you’ve ever done?”
“You wrote the book. You know.”
I sigh. “Come on, Justin. Work with me.”
Now he rolls his eyes. “At this point, I’d have to say the time my best friend and I went after that rabid dog that was living in the alleys of Castle Town. We were just kids, but we thought we could be heroes by saving the city from it.
“What happened?”
“We found it.” Justin shrugs and the tint of guilt and embarrassment finds his cheeks. “Both of us snuck out at night and we found it behind the church. We didn’t plan on how we were going to kill it and we didn’t bring anything with us. So, my friend started throwing rocks at it, but he missed and ended up breaking the church’s window. Next thing I know: the dog is chasing the both of us down the alleys. We split at a crossroads and the dog ended up following me. I tried climbing on crates to avoid it and end up ripping my pants. It would’ve bit me if my friend hadn’t arrived in time with the city soldiers. They put the dog down and we got scolded and escorted back to our homes.” Justin shakes his head and looks away again. “My father was furious, but he was more angry at the fact that I snuck out and ripped my pants. He didn’t care what happened with the dog.”
“I’m sorry to hear that, Justin.”
He shrugs.
“I’ve got one last question for you.” I smile in attempt to lighten his spirits. “What’s your favorite color?”
He stares at me. “Really?”
“Of course! Everyone has to have a favorite color! It’s the go-to question!”
Justin chuckles and shakes his head. “Well, it used to be blue, but lately it’s been yellow.”
“How come?”
He smirks. “You wrote the book. You know.”

Published by Nikki

I am an aspiring author with one novel written and ready for representation and many in the works.

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