Despite a fascination with the human psyche, a character driven writer can find it difficult to get a character to open up? This is all the more challenging when you start off running with a character and suddenly you feel as if you've slammed into a stone wall.
Antidote: The Character Interview
Explore the character from the inside out, not from the outside in. There is a difference, and a very big one between the two.
Interviewing is different from a fill-in-the-blanks questionnaire
When your character won’t move, beware doing a fill-in-the-blank character questionnaire such as:
What are your parents’ and siblings’ names? What is your favorite food? Are you married? Divorced? Do you have children? What are their names and ages? What is your job? What do you spend your money on? Do you travel? What does a typical day in your life consist of? What is your character’s hair color? Eye color? What kind of distinguishing facial features does your character have? And yadda yadda yadda...
The problem with "fill in the blank" questions is the answers become a snapshot of the character of your character's life. Imagine if someone filled out such a questionnaire about you. Would the answers give any real sense of the inside, depth you?
Bottom line: you can't just fill in the blanks and presume know your characters. This is looking at the character from the outside in.
We find out who we truly are when we stop defining and controlling our character and, instead, become our characters. We feel what they (not we) feel. We see the world through the character’s eyes, not our own. Easier said than done!
On my new Free TeleSeminar, we will explore techniques to open to the truth of characters lives, motivations and journeys.