Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Character Interviews

I've read that doing character interviews can help you flesh out your characters, and get better acquainted with them. Using Google Forms, I setup a list of questions. Here's the list I came up with:

What is your character's name?
Describe your eyes
Describe your hair
What are some distinguishing characteristics?
Describe your body
What is your biggest fear?
What makes you happiest?
How do you react when someone is mean?
How do you react when someone is nice?
If someone needed help, would you help them?
You see someone harming an animal. What do you do?
What would you do with extra money?
Who are your mortal enemies?
Who are your best friends?
When you are all alone, what do you think about?
Describe your home.
What kind of car do you drive?
Where do you go shopping?
Describe your workout, swimming, formal, casual and regular clothes.
What do you do for a living?
Do you have any pets? If so, how did you meet?
Who is/was your greatest influence and why?
What were your parents like?
Where did you grow up?
Do you have siblings? If so, describe your relationship with them.
Describe your first love/relationship.
Have you ever done something you regreted? What was it?
What were your favorite activities as a child?
What are your embarrassing childhood memories?
What were you like in school?
Did you have any accidents or incidents in your childhood? Describe.
If you could tell your child self one thing, what would it be?
What are your goals?
How do you see your life in 10 years? 20 years? 30 years?
How long do you think you will live, and how do you think you will die?
Do you want children? How many?
What would you do if your life 180'd?
Your crush asks you out. What do you do?
Your boss gives you an impossible task. How do you handle it?
A friend or relative needs your help. What do you do?
An acquaintance asks you to do something. Do you?
Your life is suddenly spiraling downward. Do you ask anyone for help? Who?
Your life is looking up. Who do you celebrate with? How?
Favorite color
Favorite food
Favorite drink
Favorite friend/relative
Favorite hobby
Favorite hangout
Favorite activity
Favorite outfit
Favorite communication method
Favorite transportation

These are rated on a scale of 1-5, where 1 = Opposite and 5 = Always.
What role do you play in your relationships? [Faithful/Loyal]
What role do you play in your relationships? [Gentle]
What role do you play in your relationships? [Attentive]
What role do you play in your relationships? [Take-charge]
What role do you play in your relationships? [Affable]
What role do you play in your relationships? [Gentle/Motherly]
What role do you play in your relationships? [Funny]
What role do you play in your relationships? [Amiable]
What role do you play in your relationships? [Logical]
What role do you play in your relationships? [Encouraging]
What role do you play in your relationships? [Sarcastic]
What role do you play in your relationships? [Narcissistic]
What role do you play in your relationships? [Mischievous]
What role do you play in your relationships? [Malicious]
What role do you play in your relationships? [Bored]
What role do you play in your relationships? [Brave]
What role do you play in your relationships? [Calm]
What role do you play in your relationships? [Naive]
What role do you play in your relationships? [Giving]
What role do you play in your relationships? [Impolite]

So far the questions have really helped me get a good understanding of my characters. I've interviewed Meryl Bennett from "The Undragoning of Meryl Bennett" and Sara from "Sara Flynn, At Your Service." Since the answers give hints to the plot-line, they aren't going to be published. Maybe a basic-stat type Q/A can be posted once they're parsed, though.

Do any of you use Character Interviews?

Monday, May 7, 2012

Reminiscing

It's interesting how families tend to do things simultaneously with no collaboration. My mother in law and her siblings often have similar things happen, such as purchasing the same new computer, buying a car on the same day, etc. My brother in law found a box of high school papers the same day I found an old folder on my computer filled with old writings. It brought to mind many other stories I'd written as a teen, including one about a girl named Lila. Lila was a transplant to the States from Holland. I'd just found out that Holland was built on water, and as a child I'd read a lot of older books that were set in Holland. I can't remember their names, but they frequently contained iceskating and whatnot. Lila was raised similarly to myself (parallels!) and was dealing with her new life with a familiar religion to support her. At the time I was very religious, but in my present condition I'm very much anti-religion. She was a naive, caring girl who was trying to fit into a new society, but was learning how to fit in using her old system. One particular part I recall was when Lila went to a fifth-hand thrift store and found books on etiquette. She read that a man should always start her car and help put ice in her icebox. Little things like that made up most of the stories, along with a not-so-secret crush on another member of the church she went to. Poor fellow -- he thought she was beautiful and nice, but she seemed like a twit! They were all written in notebooks, however, and I have no idea where those wound up. Ahh, the Internet age! If only I'd typed them out when I got my first computer. If anything, they would be highly anecdotal. The drawing here is of Lila, done around 1999/2000. Dad had just gotten me my first tablet (a serial Aiptek) and it came with ArtDabbler. This was one of the first drawings done with it.

One thing I've learned from all of this: scan in those things your kids bring home! You don't have to keep them in a box collecting dust; they can be stored on your computer. Just don't forget to back up!!