Looking for Characters to Interview

A lot of blogs do author interviews, but I thought it would be fun to do character interviews! I’ve been working on this since March (sadly), but since then Ruth Ann Nordin has done something similar on her own blog (Great minds think alike, don’t they?) and I know I’ve really enjoyed reading them!

I’m kicking it off with an interview of one of my own characters today, but I used the same questions to make his interview as I am posting for other authors to answer.  I’ll break them up some and add some variety so each doesn’t seem like a carbon copy.

I am accepting interviews from all genres, as I have a pretty diverse reader base on my blog. Interested authors should send an email with the answers to the questions below to Joleene at JoleeneNaylor dot com – do NOT post them as a comment to this post. Be sure to answer the questions as though your character is answering them, and if some of the questions don’t apply, then just skip those.

If your character is from a book that’s for sale, be sure to include a link(s) to where readers can buy it!

There’s no deadline on this. I plan to do one a week so long as I have one to post and I will let you know before your interview goes live.

Have fun and look forward to your answers!

1- tell me a little about yourself (what do you look like, where do you live, what book are you in)

2- How do you evolve during the course of the story/series?

3 – Do you have an enemy or nemesis? If so, who are they and how did they become an enemy?

4- What is the biggest challenge you face in the story?

5 – What is the one event that you feel has helped to shape your personality?

6-Are you involved in a romance? If so with who and what is it about them that you find appealing?

7 – What is the one thing you want the most in the whole world?

8 – If you could say one thing to your readers, what would it be?

9- If you could say one thing to your author, what would it be?

10-What 2 or 3 questions do you wish I’d asked, and what are your answers to them?

Please send your answers (and any other relevant info) to Joleene at JoleeneNaylor dot com.

Giving Your Characters Life: Online

I am cross posting this on MariMiniatt.com and the Self Published Author Blog

I did something crazy, but fun this weekend. Something other authors have done, but I was a little nervous to try.

Giving your fictional characters on online presence.

I used Twitter for one. Facebook for the other.

How do you do it?

Things you need:

  • An email with an alias.
  • A third party client like Hootsuite. Not really needed, but makes it easier to manage.

Email with Alias
You need to make an unique email. You could go through the process of registering for a new email. OR if you have gmail (maybe some others) you can make an alias email address.

1. Log into your gmail. At the top, next to the search box, there are two choices. Click on “create filter”.
2. In the TO: box. Enter your email with an alias, so it looks like this email+alias@gmail.com. Your email name with +alias then @gmail.com. Use an alias that is unique, because it is your character, their first name is perfect. Click on Next Step.

3. Create a filer: click on Apply a Label. Use the drop down to make a new label. Enter your character’s name. Now every time an email comes in for your character it will be sorted for you.

4. Last step. Send yourself a test email to see if it work. From you. to You+alias.

All done. Good.

Twitter
You set up your fictional character profile, like yours. BUT use the alias email. Twitter only allows one profile per email. The alias email gets around that.

Here is mine for Steopa: @SteopaR

Noticed I did not come out an say he is fictional. But anyone reading his bio should figure that out. For the website, use yours. Unless you are maintaining a website for the character as well.

Here is another good example: @crookedfang

Facebook

YOU CANNOT CREATE ANOTHER PROFILE.

Facebook will kick you off for that. What you have to do is make a page:
Very simple.

1.Go to: https://www.facebook.com/pages

2.Click on create page.

3.Choose Entertainment

4. In the drop down box. FICTIONAL CHARACTER!

Facebook made it easy. Follow the rest of the instructions as you make the profile and page. As you fill out the profile; you could use your alias email as the characters email. But, it will be visible.

Once you get 25 likes; your address for you page changes from https://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/pages/Vincent-Hugh/149281288471540 to https://www.facebook.com/Vincent-Hugh

What can you do with them?

1. Interact with fans as the characters.
2. Help promote your book.
3. Help you practise writing in your character’s voice.
4. Have fun.

Don’t go too overboard. Plan it so you only have to spend a few minutes to an hour a day maintaining them. That is where a program like Hootsuite will help. On the free version you can link up to 5 different social networking profiles. I find it works better for keeping twitter straight. Facebook moves slow enough that all I have to do is log into the page or twice a day to keep it maintained.

I hope this helps and gives you some ideas.

Character Setting Sketch

This one might not see as important, but have you ever read a book where the furniture and even the doors move. Unless, of course that’s part of the book. When writing, my characters usually spend some time in their places of work and at home a one time or several times during a book. Having descriptions of these places have proven helpful in not having to scroll back later to remember what I placed in their house or cubicle. Good luck with NaNoMo, all!

NAME OF CHARACTER:

Describe their surroundings (big city, rural area, suburbs, etc.), Neighborhood & Neighbors:

Region, Year, and/or Time Period:

Season:

CHARACTER’S HOME:

Address (Country, state or territory, city, etc.):

Describe the exterior of the House (house, apartment, or trailer):

Describe the interior of the House or draw a picture (decor, rooms, etc):

Physical, Mental, Spiritual, and/or Emotional Atmosphere of the Home:

CHARACTER’S WORKPLACE:

Business Name,  Type, and Address:

Neighborhood:

Describe the exterior of the business:

Describe the interior of the business:

Describe the Individual Workspace:

Co-workers:

MISCELLANEOUS NOTES:

Simple Character Sketch

I thought I’d post the character sketch I use for writing now. I have a 4 page in-depth character sketch, but found I never used it once I filled it in. If there isn’t a place for the information you need, you can place it in the Miscellaneous section. Good luck with NaNoMo! 

Title:

  • Date Completed:
  • Name:
  • Nickname:
  • Date and place of birth:
  • Character Role:

 

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION

  • Age:
  • Race:
  • Eye Color:
  • Hair Color/Style:
  • Build (Height/Weight):
  • Physical Attributes:
  • Mannerisms and Character tags:
  • Dialogue specifics:

 

PERSONALITY TRAITS:

BACKGROUND:

INTERNAL CONFLICT:

EXTERNAL CONFLICT:

OCCUPATION/ EDUCATION:

MISCELLEANOUS NOTES:

Improving the Reader-Character Interaction

While reading the Writer this month (a paid for subscription before I realized I was going to go the Self-publishing route). I came across an article that made me think. It wasn’t necessarily about character creation, but there was a moment when the writer touched on creating characters. The writer, Melissa Hart, drove home the idea that it is not only the protagonist, but every character in the book that risks something.  And we as writers need to show the readers what is at stake for the various characters—even if it’s just a passing mention or foreshadow for the next book—because characters that have something at stake are in danger of losing something if they gamble on a particular character or course of action.

Ask yourself this simple question , “What is at stake for this character?” If you can answer this question you are a step closer to learning your characters fears, hopes, motivations, and anxieties. You are closer to improving the quality of your writing. You give the readers insight into the minds of your characters and a chance to better understand them. You are a step closer to giving the reader a firm sense of who the characters are.

The writer, Melissa Hart, had a suggestion on how she does this. She creates freewrites based on questions about her characters. What do they love? What motivates them? What do they hide from the world? What are they afraid of?

I’ve also heard of authors doing Character Interviews. For example: Interview the villain about what motivates him. (e.g. Why did you murder X? Why have you sworn revenge on this particular man/family/group of people? What made you decide to run this scam?) ; interview the heroine about what drives her. (e.g. Why is it so important to you to switch jobs? Why do you want to move to a different city? What is it about X that draws you to him? How did you become estranged from your sister?) ; interview characters about a specific aspect of their lives. (e.g. What was the most significant event you can remember from your childhood? What are your political beliefs? Do you have a deep, dark secret? What is one thing that you have done that you would prefer others not to know about? What do you think would be the perfect lifestyle? How quickly can you make decisions?)

Do you have any suggestions?

Character Creation

Its been a while since I was here posting, but my reason is legit. My Internet connection has been on the blitz since I got my new modem and refuses to let me on the Internet for any length of time and since I was in the process of get my first book ready for publication, it took precedence. I mention this for a reason, and its not self-promotion, but because it has to do with a series of posts I want to do. The first of these is Character Creation. I start with this one because character development is one of the most important tasks in writing fiction.

Characters are important to story plot they move the plot along. Developing them will bring your story and your world to life for the readers. Take the time to plan them out prior to writing will make them real to you and later to your readers. But how much do you need to know about them before you start to write? Well this all depends on the type of fiction your writing: flash fiction, short stories, novella, novels, or book series. Each of these types will determine the amount of character development needed to make your characters come to life.

Flash Fiction

I dont usually write this type of fiction, but I have learned over the years that it doesnt require a lot of character development. For those who dont know what Flash Fiction is, it is considered the hardest type of writing. You have to create a story with the minimum of words and have it make sense. Since you only need the basics, your character sheet may look like this:

Name:

Age:

Height/Weight:

Hair color/style:

Eye color:

Complexion and skin tone:

Character’s body build:

Short Stories

This is another one of those fiction types that I have tried my hand at and probably will never be my cup of tea. They have a higher word count then flash fiction, so you have more flexibility with the character development. You may give your readers more character’s descriptions and background information, which will make them more real for your readers. The character sheet might look like this:

Name:

Age:

Height/Weight:

Hair color/style:

Eye color:

Complexion and skin tone:

Character’s body build:

Identifying marks (tattoos, scars, etc):

Facial features:

Mannerisms or gestures (hand gestures, ticks, etc):

Scent:

Character back story:

Novellas and Novels

When writing a novella or novel you need to know your characters because more details will be required then any of the previous fiction types. Novellas and Novels are character driven as well as plot driven, and so character sheets with more detailed physical description, personality traits, and an extensive background will go a long way to making your story one that pulls a reader in, make the reader care for your characters, and keep them reading from beginning to end.

Name:

Nickname:

Age:

Height/Weight:

Hair color/style:

Eye color:

Complexion and skin tone:

Character’s body build:

Identifying marks (tattoos, scars, etc):

Facial features:

Mannerisms or gestures (hand gestures, ticks, etc):

Scent:

Clothing (A note on describing clothing. Unless clothing change is crucial to your story’s plot limit your fashion descriptions. You dont need to tell every single piece of clothing your character is wearing. A basic idea of their attire is enough for most readers.)

Character back story:

Personality traits:

Needs of the character:

Ambitions:

Father’s name:

Age:

Physical appearance:

Mother’s name:

Age:

Physical appearance:

Sibling’s names and descriptions:

Favorite sayings:

Interests and hobbies:

Favorite foods:

Favorite colors:

Other favorites that are important (sports, cars, clothes, books, décor. etc):

Pets:

Education:

Religion:

Job(s):

Financial situation:

Future plans:

Possessions this character values most:

What drives your character:

How does your character handle conflict:

What is standing in your character’s way:

What is their favorite room and why:

What vehicle do they drive:

What are your character’s prejudices:

How does your character feel about love:

About crime:

What is their neighborhood like:

What is your character’s philosophy on life:

What is your character’s family life like:

It has been suggested by some, that a rough background and timeline for the character, from childhood through the start of the story, broken down into 5 to 10 (if they are fairly old) year spans, is needed.

A profile summary, taking everything you have for the character and write up a one or two paragraph summary. It is a good way to focus your character’s information, and could be used in your story.

Book Series

Im more of a book series type of person and over the years I found the more in-depth character sketch dont help me much. I stick with the basic ingredients of character development: the characters name, their role in the novel, their physical attributes, their mannerisms, their personality traits, their background, their internal and external conflict, their education, and their occupation. Everything else is secondary, extra stuff, or optional.

If you find some tidbit that needs to be added to the character sheet you can add the extra stuff as the series moves along. Then, if you ever need to reference back to it, especially if the character is the main character or even the secondary character in the next books, you dont have to rely on your memory to remember what color their eyes were or what their perfume smelled like. I dont know how many times Ive read series where the color of the eyes changes from blue to brown to green from one book to the next.

It is imperative to keep some kind of record of their traits, because there are avid readers who will catch these mistakes. It will cost you less to keep a project notebook, bible, or folder with character sheets to reference back to and will go a long way to keep the continuity of your books intact.