1. TrinaA
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    TrinaA New Member

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    What do you think of character interviews?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by TrinaA, Jun 27, 2011.

    I've seen this done by a few authors so I thought I'd give it a try. It ended up turning into somewhat of a short story itself. What do you think of this idea and have any of you tried it?
     
  2. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    What's the purpose of the character interview? Is it intended to be a story? Is it a tool to help the writer understand the character? Is it intended to help the reader understand the character?

    What exactly do you mean by "character interview"?
     
  3. WriterDude
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    WriterDude Contributing Member Contributor

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    I do it all the time. To me, it's a great way to develop the characters, and I often let two or three have an interview together. That way I can build a chemistry between them I can use in the story.

    Character interviews are just what it says. They are interviews with your characters. You can ask them anything and let them respond in a way that would feel natural for them.
     
  4. The Degenerate
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    The Degenerate Active Member

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    I've never tried it, mostly because I don't like knowing too much about my character before going into a story. I like to discover things about them in the heat of the moment, and it feels more natural to me.
     
  5. WriterDude
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    WriterDude Contributing Member Contributor

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    Don't worry, there's always more to learn. :)
     
  6. spklvr
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    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

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    I like them, but don't use them that often. Usually only if an important character seems a little off to me. What I mainly do is write little short stories about nothing in particular to get to know them. Then I learn how they interact with each other as well.
     
  7. cybrxkhan
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    cybrxkhan Contributing Member

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    They're good, but I don't use them a lot, probably because I find it a bit difficult to separate my mindset from that of the characters. Although if I think them as my imaginary friends, it becomes easier for some reason.
     
  8. Lord Malum
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    Lord Malum Senior Member

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    I used it once. I spent more time interviewing than actually writing so I put it down and never did it again. It's not for me, but I can understand why some use it.
     
  9. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    This doesn't really help. Do you mean that I, as the writer, interview my own characters? Do other characters interview each other? Are these interviews supposed to be part of the story, so that the reader reads them? Or are they just for me, the writer, to help me understand them?

    I usually get to know my characters by writing little stories about them that never appear in the final work. I put them in situations to see how they react. That works for me - I don't interview them, myself.
     
  10. cybrxkhan
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    cybrxkhan Contributing Member

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    Think of it as like talking with an imaginary friend. You talk directly to your character, asking them questions about just about anything - about their personality, what they think about the story currently, their opinions on certain aspects you have trouble with, etc.

    It's really ultimately just notes for you to use, or a way to jot down your ideas in a sense.
     
  11. Protar
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    Protar Active Member

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    My main character just wants you to know he thinks you're all crazy for talking to your characters.
     
  12. kelbell*44
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    kelbell*44 New Member

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    I find them helpful too. I think it's a great way to really delve into the psychology of your character(s) and who knows...you may even get so carried away that you discover something about your character you didn't already know or hadn't thought of yet...
     
  13. PastPresentNFuture
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    PastPresentNFuture Senior Member

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    So, you all are saying I should connect with my characters, and start thinking of them as 3 dimmensional people instead of figments of my imagination, correct?
     
  14. TrinaA
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    TrinaA New Member

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    This has been my experience as well! I found that it added a new development to the storyline that I hadn't previously considered.
     
  15. NateSean
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    NateSean Active Member

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    Chelsea Quinn Yarbro did it with her Saint Germain character and it was actually pretty cool to read.
     
  16. WriterDude
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    WriterDude Contributing Member Contributor

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    You can interview them yourself if you want, or let them interview each other. Whatever works for you. And no, the interview doesn't have to be in the story. You can interview them about anything you want. I usually ask my characters what they thought of the story they starred in, what their favorite food and movies are, what they think about each other and so on. Many questions doesn't have anything to do with the story and are quite pointless other than to flesh out the characters. My funniest interview was interviewing two characters in the same interview. They started teasing each other, arguing and having a lot of fun. It created a great chemistry between then, and I used that chemistry in the story. I mean I didn't plan on them being lesbians. I blame them. :redface:

    You can say that... :p
     
  17. Ashrynn
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    Ashrynn Active Member

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    I think it'll be very fun.

    I'll probably go ahead and have my friends do an interview with two of my characters and see how the responses are!
     
  18. Gigi_GNR
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    Gigi_GNR Guys, come on. WAFFLE-O. Contributor

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    I think it's a really good way to get into the minds of your characters and learn them a lot better.
     
  19. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Complete waste of time.

    Put your character into your story situation, and decide how he or she will respond/react. You'll learn everything you need to know about your character.
     
  20. Raki
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    Raki Contributing Member

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    I've not tried it, but I can see where it might be useful. It'd be a win/win to have the interview as a part of the story.
     
  21. Quezacotl
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    Quezacotl Contributing Member

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    I do not interview my characters to understand them. Instead I write an episode of their life and which exhibits and explains their character.
     
  22. spklvr
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    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

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    You know what I found worked surprisingly well? I wrote about my character playing tennis, double. The way the four of them played together was so much fun, and truly showed their instincts, so to speak. One will avoid the ball, two get really competitive with each other, and the fourth one is just bored and want to leave.
     
  23. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yes, but the inherent problem with that is that they only did what you wanted them to do.

    That's the problem with things like character "interviews". You can get the same information just by thinking of it. Why beat around the bush? Why don't you just write the god damned story and get out of your own character's way?

    Every time something like this comes along, I have to just clap a hand to my face until it goes away because it's like there's all these writers that don't understand that they're the ones making their character do things.
     
  24. spklvr
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    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't know about the others, but if I'm writing pointless short stories like that or doing character interviews, it's mainly to get my creative juices flowing, if you know what I mean (seen Whose Line? Never mind). Naturally that and those interviews could also all be done in your head, but it's less tangible up there. When I put something on paper, even scenes I have thought out over and over, I see things I didn't in my head. You also have to work on which words to use to describe character’s appearance and personality, how they speak, etc. This could all be done while writing, and then fixed in a second draft, but I prefer starting with a well-rounded character rather than a blank slate.

    This is just a matter of preference. I like to plan my stories and characters in great detail, beginning to end, before I start writing. Some plan just a little and take other things on the fly, others like to just get on with it and don't even know what's gonna happen at the end of the scene they're writing. I'm trying the latter method for the first time now, and it's not working out that great. The story is fine, but there is so much filler that can't be used, I might as well have plotted, written interviews and short stories in that time.
     
  25. Jonathan22
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    Jonathan22 Contributing Member

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    Must say, I'd never heard of this til now. I just tried it, to see if it works and it really did feel... strange, perhaps I wasn't doing wrong by just having a regular conversation? I don't know, if someone could suggest a simple way to start this, I could get into it because I feel this could help me with a couple of characters!
     

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