Blog Post

Interviewing your Characters

by Kristena Mears
Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

Every author has struggled with this

How do you make your characters real and believable? Every author has struggled with how to create convincing characters to bring their pages to life. One way to make them real, it to interview them. But how?
It isn’t as easy as it sounds. Character development isn’t easy. I’ve sat for hours staring at a blank piece of paper or computer screen.
Oh… I had no problem with basic questions like:
“What’s your name?”
“How old are you?”
“What’s your favorite color?”
It was even easy for me to work out the personality… were they shy, outgoing, loud? But I could never go deep.

I began asking her the same questions I was being asked myself

One day I went to a conference on following your dreams. This course had nothing to do with writing… but everything to do with my writing.
My manuscript was on my mind, and I turned to my main character and began asking her the same questions I was being asked myself at this work conference.
Since they helped me so much, I thought I would share them with you in case you may have the same problem.

Below are a few that I adapted for creating characters.

  • How would you describe yourself right now in 3 sentences or less?
  • How do you present yourself?
  • Where do you live now and where would you live if you could live anywhere?
  • How do you dress? What do you look like?
  • What are your good and bad habits?
  • What are the negative thoughts do you keep thinking about?
  • List 5 of your strengths and your 5 weaknesses.
  • What past events do you constantly worry about or replay over and over in your head?
  • Who do you need to forgive? For what?
  • What are the consequences of staying where you are right now? What will you miss out on?
  • What does money mean to you? How do you handle it and how does it affect your life and attitude?
  • How would you describe the version of your life?
  • What is your dream for your life?
  • What skills and strengths does she need to have in order to execute on her dream? 
  • What are your weaknesses and your strengths?
  • What stories about the past are they hiding?

These are just a few of the questions I ask. Once I get started in the right direction, once the character begins to form in my mine, I have more questions and a complete character.

I hope this helps you as it helped me.

ღ(¯`v´¯)ღ About Kristena Mears ღ(¯`v´¯)ღ¸

Kristena is an award-winning author, speaker, blogger, and self-proclaimed coffee connoisseur. She lives near Cincinnati, OH, where she is a supervisor at a large company. She’s been married to her “better half” for 39 years.and has three grown children.
When Kristena’s not busy writing or working, you’ll probably find her nose in a book. She also loves spending time with her family, traveling,
cooking and dabbling in photography

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2 thoughts on “Interviewing your Characters

  1. I think this is a great tool Kristina. It makes your characters multi-dimensional in your mind’s eye before you start writing. It would help me to understand their frailties and motivations before I write. I’m going to try it.

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