Make them shake in their boots!
That's right, I said it. Interrogate the heck out of your characters. Why? Well, if you don't your story may fall short.
As a writer we have an obligation to our readers to peel back the layers of the characters we create. It's a way in which to further round out and bring our characters to life.
After read the first three novels in the mortal Instruments Series by Cassandra Clare I came away with a profound sense of awe at her characters. She has not only managed to create an awesome world in which they live and breathe, but made them seem so alive. I thought about it a bit and could only come up with one technique to even attempt at matching her gift of character creation. And that would be to interrogate the heck out of my characters. I wonder if this is what Clare did, or if she is just that amazingly talented. I'd like to say a bit of both.
At the moment I use a character sheet form I found somewhere on the internet a couple of years ago. I had the site saved originally, but lost the bookmark when my computer crashed back in November. So, unfortunately, I cannot give you the link. But, I can tell you a little about it. It goes over the basics, name, birthday, personality, physical descriptions, moral cold, flaws, secrets, possessions, role in story, key traits and a few other basic ideas. This suffices at first, I think, at least. I've been using this form for years and I like it. It's never done wrong by me.
But, I don't have enough room for the major interrogation that needs to take place between author and character. I mean, what makes these characters tick? What motivates them to make the decisions they make? There are so many questions I have for my main character Raynne. I want to ask her a zillion questions, so that when I sit down to do another round of editing on her story I have a better character outline. And she's not the only one I have questions for. I'd like to go crazy interrogating all of the characters in my story.
So what type of questions do I want to ask? Well you'll just have to wait and find out on Monday. I'm currently compiling a list of questions to ask them in an effort to have a basic form ready for Monday's post. Stay tuned to see what I want to ask.
Your turn -> What is the most important question to ask a main character? A supporting character?