Interviewing Your Characters is based on old blog I wrote years ago, but it is as timely now as it was then.
When writing your story you get well acquainted with your characters. In fact, you become quite knowledgeable about them, especially the main characters.
Have You Ever Thought About Interviewing Your Characters?
I suggest that you should do this for two reasons and at two different times. The reasons are simple enough:
- To develop your story.
- To market your book.
The timing is also simple:
- As you are writing the story.
- After you have published the book.
Developing Your Story By Interviewing Your Characters
Later in this blog, I will share an interview I did with Noah. As you know he is a major figure in the Bible. But in my novel Perished: The World That Was he was also a major figure. So, I interviewed him.
Now that interview was part of my marketing the book, but I could have had a private interview with him to help develop the story.
Noah was a real person who God used to save his family from the Flood and to start a whole new world after the Flood. And as such he has a lot to say. And since I was writing about him, he had a lot to say about the character in my book.
Interviewing Your Characters can be Beneficial
In writing Perished, I got to know Noah pretty well. And while I didn’t sit down and do an interview, I did consult with him throughout the writing. Not by spiritualism but by reading the Bible, studying him, and asking questions like, Why did you do that?
Nor did I hear voices, but the answers did come. The more I knew about Noah, the more my imagination answered the questions through him. And this enabled me to picture Noah in different situations and facing different problems. Not only did he face them, but he solved the problems.
When you use this technique, it can help you build your primary character and the supporting cast. It helps you flesh them out and make them real to your readers.
I’ll discuss the Interview on the other side of this break.
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Now back to the article.
Marketing by Interviewing Your Characters
Marketing is a difficult part of business. We often need help. One such help in interviewing the primary characters, so I decided to sit down and have an interview with Noah.
To help you understand how this helps you I will break the interview up into segments.
When Interviewing Your Characters, Introduce Them.
In my introduction I explained who Noah was, then I turned to him.
R. Frederick Riddle: “Thank you for agreeing to this interview. It is possible that some of our readers don’t know the real you, especially with Hollywood’s rendition of you. So, could you tell us a little about yourself?”
Noah: “Of course. I am the grandson of Methuselah, who lived longer than anyone else in the Bible and in history. My father was Lamech, but I was mostly influenced by Methuselah.
“Your readers probably have heard of me in relation to the Flood. I understand that some don’t believe that I am real. But I am, and I can tell you I am nothing like Hollywood portrays. In fact, I accepted this interview so I could correct the record.”
The Reason for Interviewing the Characters
R. Frederick Riddle: “I agree. My first question is, Why did you build the Ark?”
Noah: “The simple truth is that I am a farmer by trade, a grower of grapes by profession. I was not a shipbuilder, although I knew carpentry as it was helpful in farming. So, building a ship was not on my mind. I had seen smaller ships before, but my knowledge was limited.
“Actually, I was called of God. He appeared to me and specifically called me to build the Ark. He gave me what people today would call a blueprint.”
R. Frederick Riddle: “A blueprint?”
Noah: “Yes. While I understood it in general terms, there was much I didn’t know. For example, I knew what a cubit is, but I didn’t know all the finer details of shipbuilding. That’s why I needed a Master Builder such as you described in the book. Hiram did most of the work, but I had the final approval. And I must add that it was a fantastic ship!”
R. Frederick Riddle: “Could you describe the ship for us?”
Noah: “Of course. I have heard all sorts of descriptions from circular to a cube.”
R. Frederick Riddle: “Like in the myth of the Epic of Gilgamesh?
Noah: “Yes. That was written a long time after the Flood and bares little resemblance to the actual events. The Ark was a rectangular vessel 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet tall. It had the same ratio as modern ships do, which is 6 to 1. People who say it wasn’t seaworthy simply don’t know what they are talking about.”
Encourage Your Character to Speak
R. Frederick Riddle: “Many people believe the Epic of Gilgamesh was written first.”
Noah: “That’s funny. That was written many years after the Flood. In fact, it was written after the Confusion of Tongues at Babel. It’s my personal opinion that Gilgamesh and other myths were based on faulty memories of the dispersed tribes. They weren’t concerned with accuracy, but with providing their own version of the Flood.”
Keep Your Interview of Your Characters Under Control.
R. Frederick Riddle: “There is a lot of evidence supporting your view, but let’s move on. In a recent movie you were presented in an unfavorable way. What was your relationship with your family and those who helped build the Ark? Were you as bad as depicted?”
Noah: “I had excellent relations with everyone. I loved my family and was prepared to die for them. My wife was valued, as was her wisdom. As for my sons and their wives, I could not have been more pleased.
“I was also pleased with Hiram’s crew. I required them to listen to my preaching and I really wanted them to trust God and go to safety in the Ark. But none of them ever did. It really saddened me then and I am still sad.”
R. Frederick Riddle: “That brings up another question, Did no one respond to your preaching?”
Noah: “A few did, but they all died before the Flood. In the end it was only my family and myself.”
Close Interviewing Your Characters on a Positive Note
R. Frederick Riddle: “Is there anything you wish to tell us before we leave?”
Noah: “Yes. Put God first in your life! You have the Bible which is far better than what I had. Read it and put it to work in your lives.”
R. Frederick Riddle: “Excellent advice! Thank you for your time, Noah.”
Interviewing Your Characters Should Provide Insights Into Your Story.
In the above interview I encouraged Noah to comment on current events that were relevant to his experience. The actual interview was longer and went into his getting drunk after the ship landed as well as other experiences.
Think about doing this for your own characters. By using an interview as your method of telling you can relate information from your book in an entertaining way. And you just might spark someone’s interest and create a sale.
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