Freestyle Character Interviews
Written by
Emily Suess
November 2011
Written by
Emily Suess
November 2011

A few nights ago Dan and I were sitting at our respective laptops typing away while simultaneously giggling at the Daily Show. I was working on some Black Friday web content, and he was working on his latest novel idea.


"What are you writing?" I asked.


"A character interview," he said. "I'm almost done. Want to read it?"


Well, of course I did! And as I read, I laughed out loud. The dialogue was dynamic. The interviewer and the character both played off of each other, cutting up and cracking jokes whenever an opportunity presented itself. But the interview was also revealing, introducing me to some of the life events that had shaped the character's personality thus far.


If you're like me, and you haven't written a character interview in a while, I encourage you to give it a try. It's a great alternative or supplement to traditional character worksheets, helping you through the planning and writing phases of your WIP.


Benefits of Interviewing Your Characters

  • Playing With Voice – You get to work on crafting your character's voice without the pain of cutting experimental writing. Keep your interview for inspiration when you hit The Wall.
  • Practicing Dialogue – Find ways to make your character's voice unique without making it awkward. Dialogue is tricky, and practice is a necessity.
  • Keeping Your Writing Rhythm – Going a day without writing can be traumatic. If you do hit a wall, taking a break to write an interview can help you maintain your daily writing rhythm.


Freestyle It!

When it comes to story structure, I'm a big fan of planning and outlines. However, when it comes to character interviews, I advise throwing out the pre-planned, 20 Questions and writing a spontaneous back-and-forth between the interviewer and your story's character.


Bonus points if your character is interviewed by another character--either your own creation or a famous character like Sherlock Holmes or Little Red Riding Hood.


Get Featured This Week - Your Assignment (Should You Choose to Accept it)

As guest editor this week, I'd love to feature character interviews from fellow She Writers! If you'd like to contribute a brief interview, comment here or contact me.



Photo credit:  CVAH

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  • B. Lynn Goodwin

    I'd love to do a brief character interview. Sign me up. Oops. Sign my character and me up.



    Author of You Want Me to Do WHAT? Journaling for Characters

  • Emily Suess

    Hi Lauren! You can leave a link here in the comments any time, but I'd also like to feature a couple of the best interviews on the main page while I'm still guest editor. To do that, I'd need you to post or send me a link by 12:00 on Friday.