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Category Archives: Creative Writing Craft and Techniques

This 79-Question “Interview” Will Help You Write Better Characters | Writer’s Relief

The best characters have vibrant lives that exist both on the page and off. And Writer’s Relief knows that one of the best ways to learn more about your own character’s inner life is by freewriting or brainstorming using the following topics. This Q&A-style interview with your characters will lead you to the deep revelations that foster more believable characterization.

Describe Your Character’s Physical Traits

  1. Height
  2. Eye color
  3. Build
  4. Hair color
  5. Skin tone
  6. Ethnicity
  7. Athletic abilities
  8. Physical challenges
  9. Favorite physical trait
  10. Least favorite physical trait
  11. How character sees his or her own looks

What Are Your Character’s Values And Priorities?

Sort these values in order of importance to your character.

  1. Religious values
  2. Personal happiness and satisfaction
  3. Money/financial solvency
  4. Family ties/responsibilities
  5. Looks/personal appearance
  6. Luxuries (fancy cars, large homes, etc.)
  7. Giving to others/strangers/community
  8. Political involvement
  9. Friendships
  10. Romance/love life
  11. Reputation within the community
  12. Professional aspirations
  13. Creative fulfillment
  14. Fun and games/kicking back

Brainstorm Or Freewrite About These Topics Related To Your Character’s Backstory

  1. Favorite childhood memory
  2. Least favorite childhood memory
  3. Socioeconomic situation as a child
  4. Socioeconomic situation now
  5. Cultural/regional elements of upbringing
  6. Relationship with mother/parent/guardian
  7. Relationship with father/parent/guardian
  8. Relationship with siblings
  9. Academic track record
  10. Childhood career aspirations
  11. Actual career path
  12. Deepest social insecurity (and the moment it was born)
  13. Biggest fear/phobia (and the moment it was born)
  14. First crush/love
  15. Childhood best friend

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No Time Like The Present: Describe Your Character’s Life Right Now

  1. Financial situation
  2. Living situation
  3. Romance situation
  4. Professional situation
  5. Dietary preferences
  6. Physical challenges
  7. Family life situation
  8. Favorite things to do when not busy

The Or Game: How Would Your Character Answer These Questions

The OR game is about making instinctive, split-second judgment calls. No explaining, deliberating—or saying “and.” Sometimes, characters come to life from the smallest details. Your answers to these seemingly frivolous questions about your character’s preferences may actually surprise you with new facets of his or her personality.

  1. Stay in or go out?
  2. Beach or mountains?
  3. DIY or hire help?
  4. Winter, spring, summer, or fall?
  5. Lake or pool?
  6. Museum or concert?
  7. Fight or flee?
  8. Speak up or keep mum?
  9. Apologize or pretend it didn’t happen?
  10. Five minutes late or five minutes early?
  11. Half empty or half full?
  12. Kiss up or kiss off?
  13. Home-cooking or gourmet?
  14. Plastic, wood, or metal?
  15. Book or movie?
  16. Minimalism or max it out?
  17. Traveling or settling in?
  18. Tent or hotel?
  19. Crowds or solitude?
  20. Breakfast: skip or savor?
  21. First dates: Love or tolerate?
  22. Roses or sunflowers?
  23. Text or email?
  24. Paper clips or staples?
  25. Vanilla or cinnamon?
  26. Heights or depths?
  27. Print book or e-book?
  28. Custom frames or Scotch tape?
  29. Dogs or cats?
  30. RSVP with guest or decline with regret?
  31. Break or bend?

Now That You Know All About Your Characters…

If you want to write characters that readers will never forget, be sure YOU don’t forget any details you’ve learned about your characters! Here are our best tips for keeping track of important character-building details that will make your story’s population feel well-rounded and real.

 

Question: Add your character interview ideas to our list via our comments section!

9 Ideas For Short Story Endings: How To Get From Here To There | Writer’s Relief

Sometimes, writing a short story can be like going for a drive with no map: You have a solid starting point, but then the highway has multiple exits. Which direction will get you where you need to go? Time to whip out your virtual writing GPS and ask the Writer’s Relief experts for the best… Continue Reading

3-Word Writing Prompts: A Great Way To Break Through Writer’s Block | Writer’s Relief

Writer’s block can stifle your creativity in more than one way. Sometimes, you reach a point in your writing where you feel stuck—you simply can’t figure out what happens next or how to end a story or poem. Other times, you’ve finished the piece you’ve been working on and can’t think of something new to… Continue Reading

Writers: Plays To Read To Improve Your Story’s Dialogue | Writer’s Relief

Dialogue is one of the most important elements of your short story or novel. Believable dialogue will make your characters  three-dimensional, relatable, and real. At Writer’s Relief, we know readers want to  identify with your characters or to recognize the realistic people you’re creating—whether they love them or hate them! For a playwright, effective dialogue… Continue Reading

Dos And Don’ts Of Taking Feedback On Your Creative Writing | Writer’s Relief

Every writer knows the importance of getting feedback on your work—but it’s also a complicated matter. On the one hand, if a critique partner misunderstands or misconstrues, the resulting critique can be devastating. On the other hand, if a reader adores what you’ve written, it can be easy to lapse into complacency. Even a spot-on… Continue Reading



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