Most writers at some point will have filled out a character interview sheet. These are great resources for digging into the heart of your character. However, it isn't always easy to interview an imaginary person.
You might save yourself time and frustration by interviewing real people now to use for characters later.
Better yet, you might even interview yourself.
How can an interview help?
When creating a new character, it isn't enough to know what they want to achieve in the story. You need to know their background, their fears, hopes, and dreams. Imagine this character is someone in your life, what would you want to know about them to help you understand these hopes and dreams and fears?
Below are a few questions to get you started. Use them on yourself, and consider writing a short description of you the character. What stands out? Your troubled childhood? Your hope to be a famous author? Your fear of running out of money before the rent's due?
Getting to know you will make it easier to know your future characters.
1. Family: list your birth order, number of siblings, parents' marital/living status, and your most vivid childhood memory.
2. Interests: describe your favorite past-time and why you chose it or who influenced you.
3. Favorites: color, music, food, season, celebrity, athlete, shape, vegetable, country.
4. Coke or Pepsi: Would you rather...live by the sea or mountains; be famous or influential; dance in public or dive off a cliff; be married or single; live in a large house with no kids or in a small house with lots of kids...
5. Fears: what scares you the most?
6. Hopes: what would make you the happiest right now?
Start with these few questions and make lists about you. Read through your responses and change one or two things. Then write a short scene using yourself as a character (in your current work or as its own piece of writing).
This is a great exercise to explore character development and create richer and more real people in your stories.
Share your explorations and epiphanies with us!