Now it’s time for some of my nerdy analysis. Why does this work? What makes character interviews helpful?
I believe that it forces you to get inside the characters head. Not just asking yourself what they might do, or what they might say, but actually think and feel with them. If you’re being honest with their answers, then you can’t help but get inside their skin. I know that when I am answering as Mirian or Jerok, it takes a minute or two to become them. Once I do though, I can feel Mirian’s self-righteousness, as well as her confusion about her attack and how it relates to her relationship with her goddess. Likewise, Jerok’s carefree approach to living or his sometimes callous nature toward others comes out when I have to answer for him.
What other ways do y’all use to get inside your characters? I’ve seen character sheets that run over a dozen pages, but does that get you there? I confess that although I did character sheets on my main characters, I rarely consult them.
Ultimately, we as writers need to have these conduits into the mind of those we write about. I would love to hear what other methods people use. How do you know what your character is thinking? Do they just live inside you, or do you have to channel them to get their thoughts and actions onto the page?