Interviewing my characters

Do any other authors do this? When I’m about to start a new project, I’ve found it incredibly helpful to take a little time and interview my characters. I will literally open a blank document, and just start asking my characters questions. Sometimes I write it as a little scene between my character and a nameless narrator (using “I”) and other times, I will write a Q & A session between a character and me.

This helps me get back into the swing of things with an old project that I’m resurrecting, or figure out something new about a character. For example, in finishing my latest draft, I found myself getting into a rut with a certain character’s motivation. I felt that their actions made sense, but I couldn’t quite figure out why they did things the way they did. So, I asked them. And with a little effort, a little prying, I was able to figure out why they do what they do.

It sounds weird to write about this, unless you’re writing to a fellow author. I’ve found myself trying to explain to my mother how characters feel like they take a life of their own, and I think I managed to get her to understand the idea, if not the process. But it’s true. The character’s voice seems separate from my own. Sometimes it takes a while to find it, other times, it’s right there.

Interviewing my characters helps me find that voice. And then, find the character. From there, it’s smooth sailing.

Usually. :)


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