Friday, May 04, 2012

Character Interview Questions

Hi, EVA writers (and everyone else)!

At today's world building workshop, I gave a sample of questions I often ask about my characters before I begin my actual writing.  I initially developed these so I could go into deep point of view with each character, but these can also help with world building.  (I'll provide comments after some of them, just as I did during the workshop).

*What do you do for a living?  Why?
This can show the different occupations in your world and help you figure out what your world needs in order to function on a daily basis.  Does your character have a low level job--are they in the "dregs of this society"?  Or is it the opposite?

*What’s your family like and how does your upbringing affect you now?
How a character's family functions in this world is important.  Is it a society in which children are valuable?  Or are kids stuck in a high-tech nursery to be raised in order to become a cog in the wheel of your society?  This question will reflect cultural norms.

*What is your worst fear?  (This one figures into the plot because I try to make sure their worst fears are realized.)
Very important.  You'll want to build the possibility (and eventuality) of this fear coming true *in to* your world.

*What kind of clothing do you wear?  Why?
Does the character wear clothing that conforms to your world?  Or are they a fish out of water, and does their clothing reflect that?

*What is your “foil”’s hair/eyes, etc. like?  (Here, I work up descriptions from the hero or heroine’s POV—How would the hero describe the heroine’s red hair, for instance?  What does this description say about him or his experiences?  Is the color somehow reflective of the heroine’s personality as he perceives it or is it reflective something the hero has experienced in his own life?)
As for world building, are there "different" things about your world that can be worked into a description?  For instance, if the hero's eyes are gray, maybe they're the gray of a postapocalyptic sky, and since that's from the heroine's world experience, you're building some of your world right there.

How would you describe your own appearance?  How do you feel about your body?

(I'll leave the rest to you guys!)

*What is your favorite saying/motto?  (This is usually the character in a nutshell. Maybe it’s a cliché, like “What comes around goes around.”  Or maybe it’s something different, like “Screw me once, yea for me.  Screw me over, you’re gonna pay.”)

*What kind of hobbies do you have?  (Anything quirky?  How do these round you out as a person?  Any evidence of them in your apartment or workplace?)

*What would people have written about you in your high school yearbook?  (What’s written beneath your picture?  Any awards or dreams that have since died?  How did other people view you?)

*What is your love history?

*What would you find in your purse or wallet?

*What tangible object would symbolize you? (This could tie in with the theme of the story.)

*What kind of education do you have?

*Where do you live?  Why?

For those who attended the workshop on Saturday the 5th, thank you!  I hope these questions help you.  I hope they help all you other writers out there, too.

Happy writing!

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