Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Character Grill

Sometimes you have to play rough with your characters. You can’t be squeamish. You have to make them talk. And when they won’t, you have to teach them a lesson. Poke them. Prod them. Spank them. Whew. Getting hot in here, LOL.

But seriously, as a fiction writer you cannot afford to let your characters give you the silent treatment.
When they do, you have to sit them down in the hot seat, put a spotlight on them, and grill them.

I created a form I fill out for each character. Every line must be filled out on the form before I can proceed. They know that as well and sometimes fight me on each and every line. But I have techniques I am not afraid to use in order to get the answers I seek. It goes well beyond rank and serial number.

I will employ whatever means necessary to make them talk, and I am not above using Rod Stewart’s Maggie May or Leo Sayer’s You Make Me Feel Like Dancing at high decibels over and over and over.  ::grins and winces::

When I am done with them, earworms will be the least of their problems. The hero of my current wip is refusing to talk, to explain his motivations. He was shy at first, but he seemed to open up under the threat of my “writing” crop.

My form looks just like one you’d see at a doctor’s office, except it goes into more details of a…shall we say…private nature. ::wink::

No excuses. Everyone must fill out the form. Even secondary characters with only a brief walk-in part.

For other writers: Do you grill or interrogate your characters? What do you use to intimidate them into speaking?

For readers: Do you like to see authors run their characters through a virtual wringer?

*note* Once I figure out how to upload the character form into a clickable download for people, I'll try to post the link here as an update. If the internet should happen to break, it wasn't me. I hope. lol

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