Thursday, May 3, 2018

Interviewing Your Characters and GMC

Show of hands - who here has filled out a character interview sheet before they start writing? I definitely have not - yet. But I've been reading Debra Dixon's GMC: Goals, Motivation and Conflict (which is brilliant, by the way - even for someone 10 books into this whole writing thing) and she talks a lot about building the character interview into your writing process. According to Dixon (and I agree), it helps to give you a firm grasp the characters' goals and motivations, and how they're going to respond to conflict -- all of which help you build a great story.

The foundation of every great novel, regardless of genre, is conflict. If you have a weak conflict, readers feel like they're being led along a path for no real reason. Even in romance with its guaranteed happily-ever-after, your main character (MC) must face conflict - whether it's accidentally falling for her brother's roommate or an off-limits office romance.

Ok, I see you nodding and thinking, "But how does knowing whether my MC likes dogs add to the potential for conflict within my story?" Well, let's just say you're writing science fiction and your MC had a dog back when he was kid, which was a very long time ago. He and his friends are being shot at by rebel forces and about to board their space ship to escape the hostile planet, when MC sees a dog limping into a cave twenty feet away. MC makes a split-second decision to grab the dog and take it with them, but doing so means he's under enemy fire. And the crew now have a dog onboard - who's limping along and definitely worse for the wear. Imagine the conflict this can create amongst the crew! Now, the dog isn't the central plot point or conflict (it could be, but in my imaginary story it's not), but it can be used as a plot device to help drive the main conflict - which in this case might be something along the lines of: MC is a rogue and his superiors expect him to fall in line b/c he's putting everyone in danger otherwise. Case in point? You guessed it. Dog.

Here are 25 more great character interview questions:

  1. It's Monday morning. Are you excited to go to work/school or sad?
  2. What do you normally eat for breakfast?
  3. Do you call your mother or text? How often?
  4. Do you iron your clothes? Who does your laundry?
  5. Do you exercise or are you happy to sit on the couch? If you exercise, what's your favorite way to exercise?
  6. Have you ever played a team sport? If you no longer play, why not?
  7. What is your favorite TV show?
  8. How do you typically spend your Friday night?
  9. What do you do when you're bored?
  10. How many hours/day do you work/go to school?
  11. What would you be embarrassed for people to know about you?
  12. If you go to a party, do you prefer to talk to people you already know or meet new people?
  13. What do you drink during the day? Water? Coffee? Ice Tea? Beer? Nothing?
  14. What kind of books do you read? If you don't read books, do you read magazines, newspapers, or online content?
  15. If a stranger rings your doorbell, do you answer it or do you wait in the kitchen until they leave?
  16. What is your favorite food?
  17. If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
  18. How many siblings do you have? Are you close or estranged?
  19. Do you have a pet? If so, what kind?
  20. What would be your perfect gift to receive?
  21. What do you like best about yourself?
  22. What do you like least about yourself?
  23. How long have you known your best friend?
  24. You're stuck waiting in an unexpectedly long line. How do you react? What do you do while you're waiting?
  25. What is one color you think looks great on you and why?
These are only the tip of the iceberg of questions you can use to "interview" your characters, so I'm curious -- if you do a pre-writing character interview, what kinds of questions do you ask your characters?


Carrie Beckort said...

Great list, Brenda! I haven't done a character interview to this level of detail (but I should at least try it sometime), but I do think about what emotions drive my characters along with what emotional state they are currently in. That helps me determine how they'd react to various situations.

clipping path service said...

I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article and i am hoping the same best work from you in the future as well

Clipping USA said...

Thanks, Brenda! effort able information. continue your writing. very become to help for reader. Thanks
Clipping Path Service

Best Clipping Path Service said...

Excellent article, I really enjoy your article, Thanks for sharing your post.

V's Little World said...

Great interview post! I have read your post, I think very interesting topics throwing and share a great experience.
clipping path service

Verified Account said...

Really great 25 character interview questions!
Want to know where to buy a fully Verified Neteller Account? We are here at Verified Account to provide you with fully verified Neteller accounts. You will get fully verified ready to use Neteller accounts with complete security. Buy Verified Neteller Account today from us at the best price!

Robert Lewis said...

Photography is my passion. since childhood, i am currently working on this sector. It is my passion to write blogs about photography tips and tutorial also publishing on different platforms. Last 5 years, I have been working with passion in this field. It is my intention to expose my professional knowledge which has proper guideline to enhance professional photography for the beginner. Look through my most recent portfolios.

Image Manipulation Service
Photography Post Production Service

FixingHacks said...

"Do you know a blog to get reliable hacks to fix your Android, iOS, and Windows issues?

FixingHacks reveals the solutions related to your Windows, iOS, and Android devices. At FixingHacks, we are highly dedicated tech experts to find out the most reliable fixes to your tech issues.

We are here to dedicatedly find out the ways you can go to escape from any Android, iOS, and Windows issues easily. Practically there may not be an issue that we haven't been through before you regarding Android, iOS, and Windows OS.

Welcome to FixingHacks to find various updated hacks and fixes!"

Nancy McKinney said...

Very excellent content this blog…..thanks

Best Regards,

Image Manipulation Service

Alternative to Backpage said...

That all our knowledge begins with experience there can be no doubt. For how is it possible that the faculty of cognition should be awakened into exercise otherwise than by means of objects which affect our senses, and partly of themselves produce representations, partly rouse our powers of understanding into activity, to compare to connect, or to separate these, and so to convert the raw material of our sensuous impressions into a knowledge of objects, which is called experience? In respect of time, therefore, no knowledge of ours is antecedent to experience, but begins with it.

Immanuel Kant, "The Critique of Pure Reason ", i.1.1

Q Articles said...

Need Retool developers? Low Code Point is a software development agency making this easier to you.

Smart TV Review said...

Buy Smart TV Now click here Find TV Price in Bangladesh: Smart TV | Android TV | LED

Blogger Template by Designer Blogs