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Interview without a vampire

I don't have vampires in my books, but I do interview my characters these days. I haven't been consistent about it, and I sometimes go back and change the answers when I get a better idea, bit I'm starting to really like the outcome.

I recently reviewed an old interview with Steve Reyes (from my current WIP) and decided to change his fear to something interesting. That gave me a whole new idea for several scenes, and part of a plot twist. So, not only is he human and vulnerable–in spite of being a kickass DEA agent–I can use his weakness against him later.

Yes, our characters suffer for the enjoyment of our readers.

Unlike a job interview, I can ask my characters the most personal Qs. Biggest fear? Worst day of your life? Age? First time you had sex? All fair game. And even though I'm the one providing the answers, I'm often surprised by what they are.

Do you interview your characters? If so, what kinds of questions do you ask?

[No Daily Squirrel today. I'm typing this on my iPhone while on the cross trainer and my thumbs are getting tired!]

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  1. Christine


    I haven’t “interviewed” my characters, but I do have their defining moments childhood until the current time/place of the story. I also ask and answer a lot of questions about the hero/heroine before I set down to write.

    Some of the questions you ask your characters are in there–like the one about first time they have sex–haven’t got that one and I think I’ll add it. Plus I’d like to know “where” as well.

    • Reply

      Christine: I tend to write them more as “What is Xs biggest fear?”, rather than “What is your biggest fear?”. I mean, I’m not crazy! ūüėČ

      Where they have sex is good to know, and probably very telling… I have a list of about 30-40 questions, and I keep tweaking, but I find it helps me start thinking about the character more, and usually produces some plot ideas.

  2. Christine


    Oh, I can’t wait to start my next first draft. Revising is so different than the process of knowing the characters.

    I haven’t had much time to write since Monday. None. But I am in a good place and DH is okay with me working on the WIP while we drive to TX.

    I can’t wait to exchange ideas in person again–looking forward to the new year!

  3. Reply

    I love this idea of interviewing my characters. I haven’t tried that. I was struggling with a character and had her write a letter, which helped me pin down her motivations.

    Thank you for sharing the idea!

    • Reply

      Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment! I think the letter is a great idea, too. Probably anything that gets you thinking more deeply about your character’s background and reasons for why they are who they are is helpful.

      Happy Writing!

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