Every author meets their characters in different ways. Some meet them as they’re writing their story. Some use only people they already know and make adjustments, creating a new character. Some, like myself, meet their characters in their head.
It only every seems to be the main character that comes to me – the one whose point of view the story needs to be told from. They pull up a chair in my mind and sit, often for weeks, before they say anything . I can see them, what they look like, what clothes they are wearing. I see their body language, if they’re nervous, happy, etc. Then one day, when I’m quiet and listening at my keyboard, they talk.
I like to “interview” my characters to get to know them better before I have them tell me their story. Here’s an snippet of one interview I had with a character.
Me: What’s your name?
Character: Cronus. I’m not so sure on the last name part. They told me I’m a Vorhee, but I don’t want to claim that name. Marsha Higgins adopted me as a baby, so I was a Higgins in elementary. Then she married Grandfather. He’s not my real grandfather, we just call him that because he looks to old to be my Dad. But his name is Michaels. I guess I’m a Michaels, which is fine. As long as I don’t have to be anything like him.
Me: How old are you?
Me: What does your bedroom look like?
Cronus: Not much to talk about. There’s a storage room above the bar Grandfather owns, and that’s my space. I have a mat, a lumpy pillow and some blankets for sleeping. And a leather duffel bag I keep my clothes in. No furniture in there or anything, but I use the boxes of liquor he stores in there with me for my nightstand, not that I have anything to put on it, but makes it feel more like a real bedroom, you know.
Below are some questions you can use to get to know your characters better:
CHARACTER INTERVIEW QUESTIONS:
- What’s your name?
- How old are you?
- Who do you look like?
- Do you have any friends?
- What about family? Tell me about them.
- What does your bedroom look like?
- Do you like to try new things?
- Are you shy?
- What scares you?
- What makes you angry?
- What do you do when you’re angry?
- What’s your biggest secret?
- Any hidden talents?
- Who do you long for?
- Have you ever been in love?
- What are you most proud of?