Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Writing Wednesdays: Have Conversations About Your Characters

When trying to figure out their characters, a lot of people talk TO them.

I've tried to do this method, and it hasn't worked. I'm sorry, but whenever I try to talk to my MC, Adrianna, I realize that I know everything about her, and she doesn't have to tell me anything. Maybe I'm too far along in the book-writing process, but I just feel weird making myself talk to these imaginary people whom I already know.

Just fyi, I do have hair. ^^

I'm also not one of those people who can magically come up with character journals, because I always feel like I'm forcing all the dregs of my creativity out when they could flow more naturally.

So, that leaves talking about your characters.

One night, I was in bed, and I was envisioning the ideal future: where I'd published my book and now was being interviewed by a person. The hypothetical interview lady said, "So, tell us more about your characters!" 

And I expounded. I was originally talking about Perks of Being a Recluse, but I realized I could do it with Polar Opposites too. At the time, I was still subconsciously trying to figure out a main character, Lucas' personality. He was an Australian genius, and I had originally pinned him as a shy person, but...well, look at how the conversation turned out.

The conversation went along something like this:

Interviewer: So, tell us about your characters.

Me: {Talks about Adrianna, Al, and Graf}

Interviewer: And then Chloe and Lucas come into the story, right?

Me: Yes; Chloe's a very Type A personality [Note: I'd never pinned "Type A" to her personality before, but as I said it, I realized it was true], and she's very self-motivated. She's an Australian prodigee who absolutely loves writing and literature, and she has her own blog. In this sense, I don't think she'd be a major part of the sequel, because she's so busy doing her own thing. 

Interviewer: And Chloe's twin, Lucas?

Me: He's also very smart, but in a science-y, math-y way. He's supposed to be Adrianna's love interest, but he's not good enough for her yet. [Note: Those words just popped out of my mouth. Bam. I'd created the character of Lucas.]

Interviewer: What do you mean, he's not good enough for her?

Me: Adrianna's fourteen, and she's a girl, and she's more mature than other girls her age. Boys generally tend to mature slower than girls do, and Lucas is by far less mature than Adrianna. He's decent-looking, and if I write the sequel, he'll be a bit of a swollen-headed guy. But in Polar Opposites, he's really just a playful genius. A little bit of sparks in PO, but nothing more.

It's crazy how these things just popped out of my mouth. I had not given too much thought to his character before, but once I'm put in an interview situation, BAM, he was created.

So if you're not a character-journal kind of person, or if you find it weird to have a conversation with your character, have a conversation about your character instead. You'll be surprised at how much you find out about them.

Do you use any other methods to develop your characters? If so, please share them in the comments below! I'd love to hear them!


  1. I don't usually like character interviews, but this sounds really fun. I just did a Nano TV interview that I found online, that was really good too. But usually I do obstacle courses. I actually just wrote about it the other day at my blog. :)
    I'll have to try this out!

    1. I'll have to check your blog out!