Getting to know your characters

Live to Write - Write to Live

a microphone on a stand photographed by Paul Hudson Image courtesy Paul Hudson Paul Hudson

My head is a crowded place. Lots of people hang out in there and many are clamoring to have their stories told. That said, I need to get to know most of them better before I can tell their stories. Some are very forthcoming and share everything, some are more reluctant and the “so, tell me about yourself” line, just doesn’t work. What’s a writer to do?

Ask your characters questions

The best way to get to know somebody is to ask him or her questions. When it comes to interviewing fictional characters some questions come to you based on your story but other questions aren’t so obvious. It’s the answers to questions that can be nuggets of gold for your story.

The best place to start is with the basics.

  • What do they want?
  • What are they doing to achieve their goal?

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