Vicki Hinze © 2003-2011
I’ve heard you speak about characters and say you “interview” them. How do you do this?
I use Kim Kozlowski’s Character Interview. It takes a few minutes to complete, but the information gleaned is priceless. Not only do you have a full picture and well-rounded character, you have insights that drive the plot in ways only this character could drive the plot. It’s a great tool.
With Kim’s full permission, I’m including that interview here:
FOR (CHARACTER NAME)
Character snapshot: Brief description of what this character is all about.
Character’s Goal: (what does character want?)
Character’s Motivation: (what is driving character toward goal?)
Character’s Conflict: (why can’t character get to their goal? What’s standing in their way? What emotional baggage do they carry that makes the goal harder to attain?)
Character’s full birth name:
Nickname (or Alias?):
Birth date and birthplace:
Significant friends: (length of relationship/why friends)
Why this Location?
How long have they lived here?
Describe family homestead:
Relationship today with parents and siblings:
Special interests in school:
Dating (first kiss):
Event that most influenced as a child:
Type for leisure:
Type worn to work:
Purse (if female):
Favorite movie/TV. show:
Favorite kind of entertainment:
Favorite non-alcoholic drink:
Reaction to another birthday:
Send Christmas cards/type:
General bed time:
General wake up time:
What is your opinion on love/marriage?
How did you lose your virginity?
What do you consider your driving force?
Are you goal oriented?
What makes you happy?
What makes you sad?
What makes you angry?
How do you control your anger?
What are you ashamed of?
What are you proud of?
What is your pet peeve?
Do you have any special talents?
What is your favorite memory?
What is your least favorite memory?
When was the last time you cried?
Did you ever do anything on a dare?
What would you do over if you could?
Do you have a secret, and why is it kept a secret?
What makes you envious?
What do you regret?
What do you have a passion for?
What do you dream about most?
What do you fantasize about?
What really tries your patience?
If you could live in another time, would you/when?
With whom would you have a fantasy affair?
What gives you pleasure?
Do you support any charities?
Where do you go for peace and quiet?
How do you relax?
What do you do for excitement?
What embarrasses you?
What would you consider a perfect date?
What kind of temperament do you have?
What is your opinion of yourself?
Do you have any enemies/why?
What are you compulsive about?
What are you lax about?
What do you absolutely hate to do?
How do you see yourself now/in five years?
What do you regret never having done?
How do you react to stress?
Are you always honest with others?
Are you always honest with yourself?
What is your admitted worst character habit?
What is your best character trait?
Who influenced you most in life?
Are you tight/thrifty/spendthrift?
Where are you vulnerable?
Are you shy or assertive?
What do you remember most about your childhood?
What is the secret to your success?
Motto or phrase you live by?
What attracts you most to the person you’re attracted to?
Tell me about the day in your life you’ll never forget?
CHARACTER’S GMC CHART
Date this chart was completed:
Character’s Full Name:
Reason for Nickname:
Age: How old does s/he appear:
Eye color: Glasses or contacts:
Type of body/build:
Skin tone: Skin type:
Shape of face:
Is s/he healthy?
If not, why not:
When and how much?
When and how much?
Type of childhood:
Most important childhood event that still affects him/her:
Relationship with her:
Relationship with him:
How many? Birth Order:
Relationship with each:
Children of siblings:
Most at ease when:
Ill at ease when:
How s/he feels about self:
Past failure s/he would be embarrassed to have people know about:
If granted one wish, what would it be?
Greatest source of strength in character’s personality (whether s/he sees it as such or not):
Greatest source of weakness in character’s personality (whether s/he sees it as such or not):
Character’s soft spot:
Is this soft spot obvious to others?
If not, how does character hide it?
Optimist or pessimist: Why?
Introvert or extrovert: Why?
Drives and motivations:
Extremely unskilled at:
Character’s darkest secret:
Does anyone else know?
If yes, did character tell them?
If no, how did they find out?
One word CHARACTER would use to describe self:
One paragraph description of how CHARACTER would describe self:
What does CHARACTER consider best physical characteristic?
What does CHARACTER consider worst physical characteristic?
Are these realistic assessments?
If not, why not?
How CHARACTER thinks others perceive him/her:
What four things would CHARACTER most like to change about self? (#1 most
important, #2 second most important, etc.)
If change #1 was made, would character be as happy as s/he thinks?
If not, why not?
INTERRELATION WITH OTHERS
How does character relate to others?
How is s/he perceived by . . .
How does character view hero/heroine?
First impression: Why?
What happens to change this perception?
What do family/friends like most about character?
What do family/friends like least about character?
Long range goals:
How does character plan to accomplish these goals?
How will other characters be affected?
How character reacts in a crisis:
How character faces problems:
Kinds of problems character usually runs into:
How character reacts to NEW problems:
How character reacts to change:
Favorite clothing: Why?
Lease favorite clothing: Why?
Where does character live?
Where does character want to live?
Spending habits (frugal, spendthrift, etc.): Why?
What does s/he do too much of?
Too little of?
Most prized possession: Why?
Person character secretly admires:
Person character was most influenced by:
Most important person in character’s life before story starts:
How does character spend the week before the story starts?