Saturday, June 14, 2014

**Special Guest Post by Victoria Grace Howell** Character Interviewing: How it Can Help Your Blog and Your Writing

Today Meek-Geek is featuring a special guest post from writer and author-to-be, Victoria Grace Howell. In this article, she discusses how writers can use character interviews to increase interest in their original stories and cast (and how to properly conduct said interview). Please read and enjoy!

In case you missed it, I was recently featured on Victoria's blog with a post about Villain Motivation. Be sure to check that out too! Happy reading, everyone! 


Bryce, Caleb and Pro from my science fiction novel Subsapien Biomech
We all want our characters to be developed, and there are many techniques to do so. Today I’m going to show you a technique that has helped me flesh out my characters. 

So what is this character interviewing?

Character interviewing is when you “ask” your character a series of questions and answer them as your character. I think of them like cast interviews for a movie aka your book. Asking your characters a series of questions and figuring out the answers helps you develop your character more thoroughly. The better you know your character the easier they are to write especially if he/she is one of your main characters, but this also assists with side characters that don’t have point of view roles in your novel. There are several ways to acquire questions.

  1. Yourself – You can either think up questions or use some of the loads of character development charts you can find on the internet.
  2. A Friend – Getting a friend to ask the questions in better than yourself usually because they usually think of questions you wouldn’t.  That makes you think a little bit more and tap into parts of your character that your own questions wouldn’t.
  3. Multiple People – Asking multiple people is the best because you get a wide variety of questions. Ask your group of writing buddies, friends and family or do what I do—post a character interview prompt on your blog.
Character interviews help your blog because your readers get to have a taste of your characters, and you get good amount of reader interaction. I’ve been doing character interviews for a while now, and I’ve always gotten great response and lots of views especially with my enhanced method. 

These are the steps I take:

1. Bio – I prepare a bio of the character. I keep it to only two paragraphs in length. I include six things in it: the character’s age and position in the book (main character, side character, villain, ect.), his/her’s goal, he/she’s personality, he/she’s setting and a few unusual facts about him/her. This way the readers get a good idea of who they are. Most of the time I include a picture of a celebrity look alike or a photo I found on Pinterest to go along with it so the readers know how I imagine they look like.

Example Bio:
Mor from Red Hood
Mor is a seventeen-year old aspiring red hood or werewolf huntress.  She lives at the red hood manor positioned near silver mines on the west side of the Queendom of Silfurlund. Half-mechanical werewolves have plagued her country for three hundred years and only women with the hereditary Spirit of Silver can keep these enemies at bay. When she was very young, her father went missing in the war which has given her extra drive toward the defeat of the beasts. Both Mor's mother and granny have been legendary huntresses, saving hundreds of lives and becoming great legends. It is Mor's dream to continue this legacy.

As is tradition, she owns a wolfhound to assist her in her missions to protect the nearby villagers. He is her constant companion and named Sielgair. Claes and Dina, a silver miner's son and a fellow red hood to-be, are her two best friends and perfect opposites to her plucky personality. Though at times Mor can be hot-headed, her bravery and tactical abilities are unquestioned by her fellow red hoods in training. Her skills with double silver axes and black powder pistols have put her at the top of her class. At eighteen Mor will be able to graduate and become a full-fledged Red Hood. That day couldn't come soon enough.
2. Post Early – I post my bio, prompting the readers to ask questions, about a week in advance. This gives the readers plenty of time to ask questions. Don’t forget to thank all the commenters!
3. Format the Post – I like to collect the questions as they come and then format the post the day before posting. This way I have all the questions together and can arrange them in a good order. If I get doubles of a question I just pick the first person’s question or if that’s another person’s only question, I pick that one. I like to format the post in a clear way with lots of white space. Another thing that’s fun to do is to have me and the character do actions within the interview like smiling, shifting, etcetera to make it feel more real. I put all actions between asterisks.
Here’s an excerpt from the interview with my fantasy character Mor for an example of formatting:

*nods* Question two: What's your favorite dish?

I like roast goose and mince pies, but I can't get enough of tarts. Black currant, raspberry ... Any tart I will eat it.

I like them too. And Jedi Kyra's last question: And one more; what are you most looking forward to about becoming a Red Hood?

It's a tie between the travel and no more lessons to be frank. *laughs a little*

Sting and Serra from my science fiction novel Subsapien Grafting
A few extra tips:

Be sure to answer all of the readers’ questions – Unless it’s a big spoiler answer all their questions. The reader took the time to comment so make sure to include them. 

Answer like your character would – Make sure to answer the questions in your character’s voice. This helps you get the hang of their voice. Even if you disagree with the character’s answer it’s the character answering the questions.

Thank the Commenters – Thank the people who left the questions within the post. They took the time think up questions for you. Acknowledge their effort.

And there you have it! That’s how to do a character interview. I hope it helps your writing. ^ ^

Have you ever done a character interview before? Have you ever read one before?


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