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Interview Your Main Characters For More Depth And Realism

Updated on December 18, 2013

Seeing the Light

I have a confession to make. It’s an embarrassing confession so I ask that you be gentle in your judgment of me. I should have known better. I mean, it’s not like I don’t understand how important it is, but for whatever reason I simply failed to take the most elementary of steps. Yes I am a professional writer and yes, I was a teacher; both of those facts only underline how monumental this mistake was, and further add to my shame.

For you, the reader and fellow writer, my mistake could be a bonus. By watching me squirm upon the sacrificial pyre of self-loathing, perhaps you will learn and never have to follow in my ignominious footsteps. That is my hope for you.

Let me give you a little background before I give specifics.

I am writing a novel. I have written a novel before. It is not as though I am unfamiliar with the steps to take in the process. In fact, I have written articles explaining the novel-writing process, so there is no possible excuse for what I have done. This is surely a case of “do what I say and not as I do” because Lordy, I really screwed up this time by not following my own advice.

My current novel has been going well thank you very much. I am now 50,000 words into it and the storyline is very clear in my brain. I was feeling quite full of myself this Friday as I took a break from the novel and spent some time reflecting.

And then it hit me with the force of an F5 tornado….I didn’t know my main character.

Halfway through my novel and I came to realize that my main character, one Toby King, is a complete stranger to me. I wouldn’t recognize him on the street if I passed him. Put me in a room with Toby and six other people and I wouldn’t know who he was. Seriously! I know what he looks like (kind of) and I know what has happened to him in the past, and I know what is going to happen to him in the future, but I don’t know WHO HE REALLY IS.

Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa!

And that, quite obviously, explains why I have not been happy with the dialogue in my book to date. Every time Toby speaks in my book I am left with a feeling of emptiness, and that just will not do when that character is the person carrying the ball throughout the novel….in fact, this is a character-based novel, so you probably now can see what a huge problem this is.

So I needed to meet Toby and in fact interview him.

You might find Toby handing out in a coffee shop
You might find Toby handing out in a coffee shop | Source

Do You Know Your Characters?

It turns out this is a fairly common problem with writers who attempt a novel. Many a writer has found themselves in the same shoes I now wear, cast adrift, not knowing their characters well enough and floundering aimlessly in a sea of words.

One way to form a bond with your characters is to sit down with them and write out an interview, just as you would do if interviewing a real-life person for a magazine article. I thought you might find it helpful if I shared with you my interview with Toby King.

You might find Toby hanging out at a ball game
You might find Toby hanging out at a ball game | Source

The Interview

“Toby, I appreciate you taking the time to meet with me. I have to tell you, interviewing someone in Bob’s Java Jive is a first for me. Tell my readers why we are meeting here in a coffee shop in Portland, Oregon.”

“Hey Bill, it’s my pleasure, and thanks for driving down here. Why here? Because this is my home, man, both figuratively and literally. I was born in Portland and this will always seem like home to me. As for the Java Jive, well, I’m a roadside poet. This is where I read my work; this is where I connect with the people; this is my home away from home if you catch my drift. If it’s not the Java Jive then it’s Bob’s Roadside Grill in Topeka, or any of a thousand other different wayside stops.”

“That’s all well and good, Toby, but let’s be honest, you are a pretty famous writer. You have a Pulitzer Prize and several best-selling books to your credit. I would expect to find you on Good Morning America and not in a coffee shop. You have to admit that’s a bit different for a celebrity.”

The interview is interrupted while Toby laughs about my last statement.

“Bill, my celebrity status and four bucks will get you a nice vanilla mocha here at the Jive. That’s the thing about fame, my man; it’s about as fleeting as you can find in life. I had it all and I lost it all. What it all comes down to is the quality of the man himself. Nothing else matters. To these people I’m just Toby King, homegrown boy who is here to entertain them for a night and shoot the shit afterwards. Hopefully what I have to read to them will inspire them, or jumpstart their brains, or encourage them to go out and do some good in this world; but at the end of the day I’m just a guy trying to walk a path he can live with.”

“Do you mind if we talk a little about your past?”

“Not at all, Bill. Fire away.”

“I know from reading your book that you have had a pretty tough life. Most people would have some bitterness because of those hardships. I guess what I’m asking is how you handle all that has happened to you?”

“Bill, my life compared to some was a piece of cake. A tough life is a single mother of three who has to work two jobs just to put food on the table, with no prospects of change on the horizon. A tough life is being born into poverty in some third world nation, not knowing if you’ll see the age of twelve. My life wasn’t tough; what it was….was just life. You either deal with it my friend or you don’t. You either learn from it or you don’t. It’s always our choice. Have I had some tough times? Most definitely! But remember that many of my problems were a result of my own actions, so to sit around and moan about it would be a bit ridiculous, don’t you think?”

And so it goes…..

Make your characters real people
Make your characters real people | Source

Try It, You Might like It

You may not be comfortable doing this. It might seem a bit whacko to you and that’s all well and good. Writers have to do what works for them. In the final analysis we are the ones in control of our writing destiny. All I know is that this little exercise allowed me to know my main character a bit better, and that in turn allowed my story to acquire more depth and substance.

Whatever you do….whatever method you try….remember that your main characters are the vessels that carry your story. If they do not appear real to the reader then you might as well not write the book.

I’m just trying to keep you from making the same embarrassing mistake as I made.

2013 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

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    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Indeed it is, Deb, and now I'm on the right path. Thank you!

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      This is so important. Hindsight is aways 20-20, so it's a good thing that you caught it.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Well, Glimmer, thinking is a good thing, right? :) Glad I could be of assistance my friend. Thank you!

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 3 years ago

      This was fascinating to me. I would never think to interview a character, but it makes sense. I mean everyone daydreams about someone fictional from time to time, but you are right, we don't really know that person do we. Got me thinking this afternoon Bill.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dianna, it is an effective and interesting process. By the time I finish interviewing my characters I know them so much better, and they take on a life of their own. I hope others find this useful.

      Thank you my friend and it's good to have you back.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      Your interview method is a piece of wisdom shared. Characters are what keep us engaged in literature and your advice will help writers to make their work successful.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Robin, thank you for the visit. I had no idea that Nadine was your partner. Good choice on your part. :) I appreciate you stopping by and best wishes on your writing in 2014. Happy New Year.

    • Robin Beck profile image

      Robin 3 years ago from Cape Town South Africa

      Good hub Billybuc, The process of interviewing your character will certainly sharpen up the realism in any story. In fact I suggested to my partner Nadine May only recently that she write short biographies of her main characters.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, Pamela, for stopping by the day after Christmas. I hope you had a wonderful holiday.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 3 years ago from United States

      Very good advice and excellent article. Interviewing your character is not something I have ever done, so I appreciate your hub.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      LOL...Mel, I wish I had the answer to your question. Perhaps HP has dyslexia???? LOL Merry Christmas Sir and thank you.

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 3 years ago from San Diego California

      This is a great idea. I'm afraid my main characters are usually some rendition of myself, which probably gets redundant after awhile, but then again I do have my shortcomings.

      Speaking of shortcomings, with your advanced hub pages experience and your years as an English teacher, could you tell me why my articles on the smart phone version of hub pages are generating ads for dyslexia testing? Should I read something into that?

      Anyhow, great work as usual and have a great Xmas!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      drbj, it is the hardest thing for me to do as a writer...that and setting a scene...but where there is a will there is a way and yes, that was a cliche. Mea culpa once again. :) Thank you my loyal friend. I hope you are having a fine weekend.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 3 years ago from south Florida

      Learning who and what your characters are really like when writing about them may be one of the hardest tasks for a writer, Bill. Thanks for the excellent reminder. BTW, I do forgive you! :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Michael my friend, I have much to learn from you. Home is where the heart is; is that not what they say? I was adopted at nine months of age; it has been difficult for me for many years to know where home really is. I think I have finally found it; I think the search is over. :)

      blessings always my friend

      bill

    • Michael-Milec profile image

      Michael-Milec 3 years ago

      Hi Bill , dearest friend I owe you so much, sinking into debt never be repaid… Both are correct, you do know about me and will know all as soon as I'll learn how to say it correctly. Its so different now, comparing to my first life , when all about me was easy comprehensible even to me. I thought all was going as planned , according to an agreement . ( I don't trust word 'contract ' anymore.) after a short while I have been pressured to deny undeniable, my choice was to go with the Truth, entering into totally unknown territory, moving from one country to the other.( Wished to have instructions of how to survive in a new environment without relatives , employment and friends .) My life started to be ambiguous and continue to be enigmatic up to now, which gives me idea of not to publish profile about my pilgrimage , since my birth country doesn't exist, my commitment takes me from " home " here to " home " there being persuaded that my citizenship is in heaven, and when time comes I will be moved to the permanent address forever.

      Have a pleasant evening. God bless you and Bev.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Enlydia, I am very happy to hear that. Thank you and good luck.

    • Enlydia Listener profile image

      Enlydia Listener 3 years ago from trailer in the country

      This is the best advice I have ever heard about writing. Thanks, I will never forget this.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      You are very welcome, vkwok...thank you as always.

    • vkwok profile image

      Victor W. Kwok 3 years ago from Hawaii

      Awesome advice, bill. Thanks!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Good morning Michael my friend.

      Now you are in Canada...I thought Michigan...sigh! I may never know about you. :) Thank you so much. Part of this character is me, but mostly he is a look at the human species...I guess you could call him "every man" in that way. I hope the readers enjoy him as much as I do. He is a flawed human being with a good heart.

      blessings always

      bill

    • Michael-Milec profile image

      Michael-Milec 3 years ago

      Hello Bill. Fantastic article my friend. Gradually, you're letting to be known revealing all "secrets " about a life of a writer : isn't a main character you? He is the one you know the best ( putting yourself in a role of the "main character " ?) - ..." It all comes down to , is the quality of the man himself. " the readers will be encourage with the warm of a soul's sincerity " to go out and do some g o o d in this world" ! " nothing else matters ." Excellent . If there is a message for " Merry Christms" let it be one like this.

      Voted up, awesome, beautiful and interesting.

      Blessings to you from the southeast part of cococoold Canada.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jackie, there must be a glitch in the system....Maria mentioned her holiday hub that she posted yesterday and I never received notification of it. Sigh! Anyway, give this a try if you are feeling bored. :) Thanks!

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Some really great advice. Be fun just to try it really. I just got notice of this hub and I see some people commented 20 hours ago, whats with that I wonder? ^

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Flourish, that would be wonderful if that happened and who knows indeed. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Nadine, thank you and Happy Friday to you.....I guess we'll find out how I'll do because one of my main characters is a woman...hopefully I will be able to tap into my feminine side. LOL

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Creative idea to for getting to know your characters, their stories and personalities. Who knows? Maybe some secrets will spill out. Nice idea.

    • Nadine May profile image

      Nadine May 3 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      Thanks for again a very great article. I can relate to you in some why when I wrote two novels where the main character is a male. How does a woman know how a male thinks and reacts? During the shape of my character Richard de Jong, I kept asking my male family and friends for advise. This often resulted in some hilarious comments, but I learned a lot. I'm often wondered how male authors do it when their main character is a woman?

      Thank you again for being such a great writing coach.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Dora, and Toby looks forward to meeting you in March. Blessings to you my friend and Happy Holidays.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

      So interesting! Sharing from your own experience makes us realize how thorough we need to be in following each step carefully. Thank you. All the best to you and Toby going forward. Would like to meet you together again.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Joelle, I would never take that badly; that is a very nice compliment and I thank you for it.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Faith, I agree, revealing the characters over time is the way to do it. I'll be working on that over the next couple of months. Thank you and of course, blessings always.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      DrBill, it is a real challenge for sure. My first novel did not pose this problem; I don't know why, but with this one I find myself having a bit more difficulty. I suppose it will work out eventually. Thanks for your thoughts.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Joelle and I agree with you. Letting the reader get to know the characters over time is the best approach I think.

    • kidscrafts profile image

      kidscrafts 3 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      Don't take this badly but it's almost reassuring that you are not perfect ;-) You always write brilliantly and you explain everything very clearly usually! I think also it's easy to get caught in the story you are writing... and then forget a few things along the way :-)

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

      Interesting perspective to interview one's characters ... could help one a ton!!! Makes sense to know one's character before writing and then slowly reveal it throughout the book more in depth as you go along.

      From your interview, your character sounds intriguing for sure!

      We are all only human : )

      Up and more and sharing

      Peace and blessings,

      Faith Reaper

    • DrBill-WmL-Smith profile image

      William Leverne Smith 3 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Yes, we should write backgrounds on each main character before we start writing... but that is a real challenge. The interview is a great idea, but it may take more than one, it appears to me. This is great platform on which to do that. Thanks for the reminder.

      I write an ongoing series using the same main characters. It would still be a useful procedure to interview them... especially between books, perhaps.

      Again, thanks for the reminder. ;-)

    • kidscrafts profile image

      kidscrafts 3 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      I suppose that it's normal to sometimes get lost in a big project like a book and forget some details. It's a great idea to interview your main character! It becomes a kind of brainstorming to define "him" or "her"! I suppose that it's OK also to not reveal everything about your main character in the first five pages. Particularities can be revealed all along the book.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      L.M. old teachers don't die; they just fade away. What you are seeing now is the fading part; glad you caught me while I'm still capable of writing an intelligent sentence.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Alan, we have a policy over here in the States called "Don't ask don't tell." LOL Maybe that applies to Braenda, Ivar, Saeward and Harding. Who knows for sure, eh? Thanks for digging through the woodpile to find me.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks, Bill. It's been a very productive week my friend, and I hope yours has been as well.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Gail, thank you for the forgiveness. Much-appreciated. LOL Seriously, thank you for the kind words.

    • L.M. Hosler profile image

      L.M. Hosler 3 years ago

      Wonderful advise. Following your articles is like getting a writing course for free. Thanks so much for helping some of us wannabee writers.

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan R Lancaster 3 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      'Ello, 'ello! This is us again conversing at the bottom of the woodpile.

      I'd like to interview Ivar Ulfsson and his friends. I'd really like to interview his witch girlfriend, Braenda (full name Braendeswitha).

      However they've been dead a thousand years.

      Seriously though, Ivar's a busy lad, scything through Normans with his long-handled Dane axe. He had slack times, but then he broods. Bit difficult to get through to him. Even his friends Saeward and Harding find him puzzling sometimes, but then again they're complex characters themselves.

      As for Braenda, she's here - usually being bedded by Ivar - and then she's gone again, into the four winds that brought her. The ones who knew him best were slain on Caldbec Hill on October 14th, 1066. Can't ask them, can I?

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 3 years ago from Massachusetts

      More great advice Bill. As always we appreciate your expertise. Hope your having a great week.

    • Gail Meyers profile image

      Gail Meyers 3 years ago from United States

      Hello, Bill. I want to put your mind at ease by telling you I forgive you, but I'm not sure I can forget. lol I have been looking around your webpage. Good stuff! Voted up.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Nell, I have one of those books sitting in the drawer as well. It's almost laughable looking at it now. Sigh! At least I know I've grown as a writer since then. LOL Thank you my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Sheila! It helps me and I hope it does the same for you.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      This is great advice bill, I do know what you mean, I remember at writing school, evening classes years ago, the tutor kept telling us to 'flesh out' the characters, I wrote a book back around that time and I could hear her voice yelling at me! lol! sadly the book is still sitting in a drawer, and when I took it out I realised that it is so dated, I would have to do the whole thing again! great advice, and definitely something to stick too, nell

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      sheilamyers 3 years ago

      Very interesting. I would've never thought about doing this. I'll have to give it a try. Thanks for the idea.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you lambservant....I'll try to do better next time. LOL As for your insecurity....you are a fine writer. Maybe it's time to knock down a few walls.

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 3 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      Very helpful Bill. I feel very insecure about writing fiction although that was how I started writing as a kid. I can see where this may be one of many reasons why. Thanks for the tip.

      As for your shameful behavior, my fingers are not rubbing at you. I often confess my sins on hubpages. We're all a work in progress. lol. You are so funny.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      DJ, what a lovely thing for you to say. You have just warmed this old writer's heart. Thank you and yes, maybe I should go back and figure out how I did it the first time. Thanks for the suggestion. :)

      bill

    • profile image

      DJ Anderson 3 years ago

      Well, shame all over you, Bill Holland!! I cannot begin to tell you how

      disappointed I am in your actions, or lack, thereof.

      That's what my Mom used to say. Well, she did not say, "Bill Holland", but you get the point.

      You are forgiven; all is well.

      I did need a little reminder, but you did such a great job in character

      descriptions in your first book. I could have recognized those guys

      anywhere.

      I kept that in mind as I have been writing. I learned much from reading your book. Your characters were vivid and sharp. I knew what they looked like and what they sounded like when they talked. Your story line flowed seamlessly with enough intrigue to make it a page turner.

      Maybe, you need to go back and read your first book. You might just learn something from it. I know I did. :-)

      DJ.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      My pleasure, Jaye, and thank you. Happy Holidays to you and yours my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, I love British phrases like "wooly at the edges." LOL What a wonderful choice of words. Even us Yanks can understand that...of course, most of us are a bit wooly as well. :)

      Thanks for the chuckle and I hope you are having a wonderful day; take care of that toe.

      bill

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 3 years ago from Deep South, USA

      Bill - That's a good technique for developing backstory. Thanks for another great tip.

      Happy Holidays!

      Jaye

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      Ann Carr 3 years ago from SW England

      Yes, but you made the mistake before you published the book! So it's not a mistake, it's a learning curve - sounds much better.

      This is a brilliant idea. I have trouble with characters, they're often woolly at the edges. This solves that kind of problem because you have their own account of who they are!

      Thanks for solving my problem, bill! Ann

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Connie, thank you my friend. I expect the novel to be completed in March if all goes according to plan, which is rarely does. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Donna, thank you...sincerely. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      LOL...Lizzy, you crack me up. What would I do without you? Thank you for your friendship and the gift of laughter you bring to this world.

    • grandmapearl profile image

      Connie Smith 3 years ago from Southern Tier New York State

      Billy, What a great idea to interview your characters. In fact, this interview makes me very keen on reading your novel! Please let me know when it is published, won't you? Thanks for sharing your mistake, and how you corrected it ;) Pearl

    • cygnetbrown profile image

      Donna Brown 3 years ago from Alton, Missouri

      I just said it, YOU showed it, Bill!

    • Radcliff profile image

      Liz Davis 3 years ago from Hudson, FL

      Toby just called. He said that interview was supposed to be off the record and you'll be hearing from his attorney.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Exactly Donna...well said. That's exactly what it does. See, you said it so much better than I did.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      There you go Brandi. If you can interview owners then you can interview your own characters. :) Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Glad to hear it, Kim. Thanks as always; I hope you are having a terrific day.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Have a great time at the party Janine and thanks for stopping by.

    • cygnetbrown profile image

      Donna Brown 3 years ago from Alton, Missouri

      Hi Bill, this is one of my favorite techniques for getting to know my characters. In addition to getting to know the character better, it helps the author separate him or herself from the character. As the author, you start to see him more as a friend and colleague than simply an extension of you.

    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 3 years ago

      Awesome advice. I've never written a novel, but I wrote a few ads for local businesses. It was fun interviewing the owners.

    • profile image

      ocfireflies 3 years ago

      Excellent advice, idea from a prolific writer--will definitely give it a try

      Blessings,

      Kim

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 3 years ago from New York, New York

      Love this advice. I have Emma's school party today, so I can't linger right now, but just wanted to stop by and wish you a great day now, too!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sha, there are times I don't think I have written enough on that novel, but I have to allow myself to enjoy this process because who knows, it might be my last novel...gotta love it! :) Thanks dear friend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Brian, those of us in the asylum love company, don't we? LOL I have found some great videos of late; I'm so glad you are enjoying them. Thanks Brian.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      LOL....Jo, are you saying I did not have a monumental mistake and I made that up just for an introduction???? How devious do you think I am? I'm literally laughing out loud, Jo, because I did make that up. Now I know you have a devious mind as well.

      Thank you dear friend. Enjoy your evening in Bedfordshire.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      John, it is crucial. If you don't know your characters then how can you expect your readers to do so? Thanks for stopping by my friend.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 3 years ago from Central Florida

      What a novel idea! No pun intended; well, OK - maybe a little. :-) I wouldn't have thought to carry on a conversation with my characters, but it makes sense. I've been doing it kind of sideways. I let my characters speak to each other and I listen as I record the conversation. I'll have to give your approach a try.

      50,000 words! Wow - you've been busy!

    • Brian Prickril profile image

      Brian Prickril 3 years ago from Savannah, GA

      Ha! Thank God. I thought I was alone in my asylum. I have dusty notebooks filled with made up interviews with characters from my fiction. I remember reading similar advice over a decade ago and I have secretly always enjoyed the process of grilling made up people. "Where were you on the night of..." It's great fun! And also, I have really been enjoying the videos you've been digging up lately. Thanks for those nuggets of inspiration.

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      Jo Alexis-Hagues 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Bill, when you first wrote about interviewing our characters I must admit, I wasn't sold on it, but I guess it makes sense. We need to know everything about the characters we are breathing life into, if the writer doesn't know what makes them who they are, the readers certainly won't get it.

      I don't know if I believe your monumental mistake, but I just had to keep reading to find out what it was. Brilliant and very useful information as always.

      Have a wonderful day and my very best as always.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Eric, what a radical idea that is.....no way that catches on in society. LOL We can always hope though, right? Thanks my friend.

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      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Great advice Bill, interviewing your characters. I never thought of that but it makes so much sense. Glad you had this light bulb moment before you got even further into your novel.

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      Eric Dierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      I really like this notion. Being more philosophic than a writer -- I suggest we use the ideas to better know those we do not understand.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Poolman....you are appreciated my friend. Have a great day and I hope you and yours have a wonderful Christmas season.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you once again DDE....I hope these suggestions help you in the future.

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      Old Poolman 3 years ago

      Bill, once again you offer excellent advice to those of us who would someday wish to call ourselves a writer. What a simple but effective technique. I and many others appreciate the information you so willingly share.

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      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Awesome write here billybuc you know to write a novel and not know your main character can be confusing. A well-advised hub on find the main characters in writing thank you.