Thursday, January 28, 2016

And Then I Saw Her Face… Now I’m A Believer…

In the past, I’ve never really cared for character interviews. I couldn’t understand how knowing my character’s favorite food would help me know the deeper part of them. I focused more on what was the most influential moment(s) in their life and how did they react to that situation.

It was a good starting place, but I’ve since learned that it’s not everything.

For Commissioned, I decided to give character interviews a chance. At least try them out. When I got to questions like: What’s their favorite music, I still rolled my eyes. Does it matter? They’re living in a fantasy world with Asian influence. But since I’d decided to try it, I made up music they liked. 

Turns out, one of my characters played the flute… and that ended up becoming a major plot point in the story. I just hadn’t realized it yet.

It was helpful, but I didn’t realize how helpful until this week. After finishing revisions on Commissioned, I’ve been going through book 2, trying to figure out what went wrong. It took a few days, but I realized I was missing a vital character. So I did the same thing as before. I found a picture on Pinterest to give me inspiration and started the character interview.

Halfway through, I got to the question: What are her religious beliefs?

Character interview with Tsetseg Manda

The answer blew me away. I knew I was missing a major part of the climax to the third book, and she’s it. She’s the fodder that builds the emotional conflict for one of my characters. I just hadn’t realized it yet. And if I hadn’t done the character interview, I’m not sure I would have ever known.

So yes, I’m definitely converted! Character interviews make the character more than one dimensional, and even when the questions seem pointless or superficial, the answers may not be.