Workshop Seven

Monday, September 14th, 2015 - Wattpad, Workshops

Last workshop I said: Getting into your character’s head is key to good writing. It means you have to dig deep into your own imagination and pull out every detail that lurks inside.

But how do I do this? Well, I use a CHARACTER INTERVIEW.

The following questions about character help me get to the heart of who my characters are so I know what ACTIONS my characters are going to take.

What’s your name?

Where do you live (describe it)?

What’s your earliest memory?

What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done?

Who do you love?

What’s your favourite food?

Describe a perfect day.

What do you do when you wake?

In this moment, what do you most want?

If you could go anywhere, where would you go?

As my characters answers these questions, I find I know who they are and how they are going to REACT to the situations my stories put them in.

For me, characters float into my mind as I get ideas for a story. Let’s say I want to write a story about a girl who is very in control of her life (which I did in my third book). Ping. Into my head popped a teenager who wrote an online advice column. In the story, she needed to be confident advising other people how to live. Then as she starts to unravel in my story, she has a long narrative journey to take.

So, there she was in my mind. This teenage advice columnist. But who was she? How could I know the things she was going to do in the book until I’d got to know her?

I started with her name: Amy Finch, nicknamed Bird. Having a name makes writing easier for me. That’s why it’s the first question on my list.

Then I like my characters to answer my character interview.

One great thing about the questions, I find, is that if you’re the sort of writer who can’t think of a character, by the time you’ve got to the end of the interview, there’s normally someone lurking about in your head ready to star in your next story.

And if you already have a character in your mind who you’re trying to get to know, like I do when I write, then this interview gets right to the heart of who they are.

This week’s writing prompt:

 

Interview your character using the character interview.

What’s your name?

Where do you live (describe it)?

What’s your earliest memory?

What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done?

Who do you love?

What’s your favourite food?

Describe a perfect day.

What do you do when you wake?

In this moment, what do you most want?

If you could go anywhere, where would you go?

And one bonus question: What did you do last time you were in trouble?

If you have a character you’re working with already, then use that character. Otherwise, just start answering the questions (as many as you like of the ten) and discover the character appearing on the page.

REMEMBER these questions are for an IMAGINARY character to answer (unless you as the writer decide otherwise).

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©2017 Alice Kuipers | Bestselling YA and Picture Book Author. Design by Janine Stoll Media.
Illustration by Julie Larocque.