Characters are the life blood of fiction (no pun intended). No matter how fantastic a plot is, it can’t move itself. Try to write a novel without any characters and let me know how that works out! Let’s face it—without them, all you’ve got is scenery. There are always characters that readers love, and there are characters they love to hate. Writers feel the same way, but have more control over what their characters do, say, and feel—and of course, over their ultimate destinies. I say “more control” because even writers don’t have total control, as I’ve touched on in a previous issue.
But writers do have fun creating characters, and believe it or not, the process of getting to know them can go on, well beyond the pages of the books they star in. They live on in side notes that never make it to the published page; in outlines, backstories, and even in the minds of their fellow characters. Sometimes they hide in the shadows of other stories, where they play no critical role, but get to light up readers’ faces when their casual mention brings back a flood of memories.
Characters have also been known to speak for themselves in interviews from time to time. A good character interview will bring out the uniqueness of their personalities…maybe even give them the chance to finally tell their side of the story. If you are an author and get a chance to give such an interview, have fun with it! This is an opportunity, not just to rehash things you’ve already written about, but to dig a little deeper into your character’s psyche, without the constraints of plot. Flesh out things you wish you could have in your book, but didn’t have room for. Expand on significant life events that had an impact on your character, for good or bad. Show off the flavor of his or her personality. Or you can add something completely new that has never been revealed before. If you’re a reader and you get a chance to read these interviews, they are a great way to get to know more about your favorite characters, or find new ones.
A number of my book characters have been interviewed over the years, the latest being Alaric from Into the Shadow Wood. Renee Scattergood had some great interview questions for him, so check them out on her blog and enjoy! You can find more of my character interviews on my website.
Also in this issue:
- Medieval Menagerie
- Self-Editing Tip: Differences between the three dashes
- Fantasy Art
- And more…