“When I’m stuck, I interview a character. I’m always surprised at what I learn.”
~Ann Roth, award-winning author.
A good way to add depth and scope to your story is to interview your characters. That goes for you as well, non-fiction authors. If you are writing a memoir or autobiography, try interviewing your younger self or a parent.
Ask them about their occupations, family structure, likes, dislikes, childhood, and so on. Anything is fair game for an interview. I guarantee that you will be surprised at what presents itself.
Ask about how they are feeling that day, what they did last night for fun, why they are dressed they way they are today. Maybe they are vegetarian, and you previously didn’t know this. Character interviews are only limited by your imagination.
“Any time you find yourself needing more information about your story, your characters, or what happens next, simply ask your story people. Speak directly to them.”
Use open-ended questions as they will elicit more information.
Don’t censor your responses. Write them down as they occur to you.
Character interviews will help you gain a more in-depth understanding of your characters’ motivations and figure out where the story needs to go. For you non-fiction types, it will help you remember who you were, how you thought and felt at that time and what your limitations were. It will also help you release the past and send that person compassion, even if that person is you!
Don’t worry, I won’t judge you for talking to yourself in the middle of your living room.
We all do it.