Hands up if you know your characters and your plot and even have a synopsis all written before you begin your novel? Oh boy, I am nowhere near that prepared, but I hear some writers are. That’s got to take some skill, although my problem is I’m quite the creative sort, and I allow each chapter to guide me in the next direction I should go. This of course makes for interesting and time-consuming rewriting as I’m usually halfway through my first draft before I truly know my characters.
So, in order to get on board with solidifying my characters at least, I came up with an interview questionnaire (which I now have in place.) Yes, you heard that right–a questionnaire. My fictional people must answer a range of questions, before they even begin to exist. <Chuckling> Yeah, if that didn’t sound crazy, then you too must be a writer, for only we truly would get this.
Now, those interview questions are for my heroine, my hero, the antagonist, and any secondary character to the heroine and hero who has a large speaking role. So far, they are–
- Where were you born, and do you have both parents, or just one, or neither?
- What’s your age?
- What kind of relationship do your parents have?
- Do you have any siblings? (Give me their names and ages, and even the ones that may be a secret because your parents haven’t told you yet.)
- What’s your favorite food?
- Are you an early riser, or do you like your sleep-ins?
- What’s your most influential memory?
- Do you have any paranormal skills you need to tell me about? (I don’t need them popping up unannounced, because that’s just a hassle.)
- Where would you like to be in ten years? (And be honest with me–don’t go telling me in a sequel or series, because I’m not sure if I can make that happen.)
Okay, by the end of my questionnaire, you can see, me and my characters get quite chummy, although I’d like to point out, some of this information won’t actually go in my book. Nope, it’s more so I can do my job as the author to direct each character’s experiences as is necessary.
And that’s what it’s all about, understanding how our characters will act, as well as interact with each other. Because as most authors know, when we’re writing, our characters have a mind of their own and will play out their scenes and develop the story’s plot for us–and that’s where the magic of writing happens. There is nothing more wonderful or more believable for the reader than when an author lets the novel go in the direction the characters want. Ah, I love that part about writing.
So, if you interview your characters in such a way, let me know. Do you have any additional questions you ask? Or did you just find this post might have you sitting down and talking to your characters a little more?
Well, that’s all for this week, and I hope my blog post aided you. If you haven’t joined me for your weekly dose of bite-sized writing tidbits and you’d like to, then simply check out the right-hand side panel, and enter your email address to “follow the blog.” If you want, also click “like” on my FB author page to the right. I love all the support.
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