Q&A session with your character

This post was written by one of my favourite bloggers, deshipley, aka Danielle, who is a frequent visitor here and always brights my day with her comments. I’ve asked her to talk to us about character interviews because she does them so well. Here it goes, and don’t forget to let us know what you think.

“Oh, Author…” (This generally said with a pitying sigh, or perhaps merely a condescending headshake, on the part of my minstrel marvel, Gant-o’-the-Lute.) “Wherever would you be without me?”
I usually try to get around answering that question, on the grounds that the asker’s ego doesn’t need the boost. But the fact is, my writing truly would be worth little without the characters who live the books and, thereby, give them life. The characters make the story, and the author makes the characters (…with “the usual exception” of Gant-o’-the-Lute who, I swear, half-created himself). It is imperative, then, that We the Authors of the World, in Order to form a more-perfect-than-not work of Fiction, do our darnedest to make our characters seem real.

“What’s real in your world about a talking, five-foot-five, practically primatial wild fox in a top hat?” questions Glyph, with a lazy swish of his bright, bushy tail.

Well, of course I didn’t mean “real” in the “being or occurring in fact or actuality” sense. We’re talking fiction; reality need have little place here, but realness is requisite. Therefore, the characters must come across as the “genuine and authentic” sort of real to the readers, which is easiest done when they feel that sort of real to their authors.

So what do you do when you just can’t seem to get a sense of who your characters are? When their innermost hearts are closed to you? When you have no idea how they would react to that wild plot point you plan to throw at them in Chapter Seven because you don’t know what makes them tic? That’s when it’s time for a little Q and A; an author/character chitchat.

“An interrogation under a hot bulb, with everyone and their secondary antagonist sniggering from the other side of the two-way mirror,” grumbles Bruno, because he’s a Mr. Sunshine type o’ teen, like that.

As Bruno’s grousing demonstrates, not every character will be eager to bare their souls to you. Something broad and open-ended like “So, tell me about yourself” may not yield the sort information you were hoping to get. For your more reluctant charries, I would recommend you take a more organized approach. Get together a list of specific questions, and tackle them one by one in a thorough interview. My preferred resource? What I call The Anything and Everything Character Questionnaire.

“…Of doom,” my tailor Edgwyn adds, in the laughing, extra-deep version of his otherwise baritone voice that signifies he’s looking to amuse.

It’s not actually meant to be doomful (despite what Bruno would have you believe) – although, I admit, some questions can be inherently awkward, or else lead unexpectedly to some pretty painful stuff. I’ve had characters break down crying mid-quiz, or storm off in a rage that only a few hours’ timeout could lessen. When you’re talking about anything and everything from their first memories, to their sense of morals, to their love life, you really never know what’s going to come up. And that’s the beauty of it: Just letting your characters talk, and learning what their words reveal.

You could unearth bits of backstory you’d never thought to imagine (for example, extracted from Glyph’s turn at the questionnaire):

Most Prized Possession and Why: It’s bound to be that hat again.
“Because it’s important,” Glyph says. “It was to be my first ever hat, and the payment the spider wanted for it was a damselfly, because her webs had never once caught a damselfly, and she’d grown terribly curious about how one would taste. So I set out to catch the required damselfly, and found one being pursued by a dragonfly. And I decided that I would rather save the damselfly, and kill the dragonfly, and give it to the spider instead. So I did, and she was most excited (because, of course, dragonflies are bigger than damselflies), so I got my hat, and I got Jewel.” (His damselfly sidekick.) “A very good day.”
You could discover secret desires that are a fundamental part of the character’s makeup (e.g., from Bruno’s session):
If Granted One Wish, What Would it Be and Why: “Oh, boy, I get a wish,” he says with lackluster glee. “…I wish that American cheese was actually cheese.”
Or you could watch in amazement as various answers work together in such a way that you’re almost looking at a short story within the dialogue (which would take too much space to illustrate here, so I’ll just hope I’ve managed to build up enough credibility in your eyes that you can take my word for it). And these mini dramas can serve as inspiration for other short stories, or even for new novels. (For goodness’ sake, I hadn’t been planning to write a sequel for my “Ballad of Allyn-a-Dale” until the rich storylines within various Merry Men questionnaires drove me to it!)
 Getting to know your characters is one of the best things you can do for your stories. More than that, turning your author/character relationship into one of friendship just makes for a more rewarding experience all around. Isn’t that so, Lute old buddy?
“Oh, absolutely,” he says, tone suggestive of humoring a mental patient.
 Ah, well. What’s the life of an author of fiction without a little harmless delusion?
Thank you Danielle, I really enjoyed the banter you have with your characters! Have you guys done, or do you do anything like this at all? Do you talk to your characters, or do you think that’s rather crazy?

Why is vaping eliquids so popular today

More than twenty years ago, smoking was very popular, almost considered a “must have” for those years fashion. Today people focus on a healthy lifestyle and the already smokers are trying to change this bad habbit as well. One of the best ways to do that so far is vaping eliquids instead of smoking tabacco.

If you decide to try out vaping eliquids, you shoud know that even British Charities such as British Heart Foundation and Cancer Research UK, but also the Royal College of Physicians are encouraging the change from a tabacco cigarette to an e-cigarette. Professor John Britton said that vaping has the potential to prevent premature death and disease caused by smoking if you make the change in time. Accourding to the Office for National Statistics, more than 860.000 people wich are ex-smokers, are currently  users of e-cigarettes.

The plenty of tasty the flavors you can choose from is absolutely mind-blowing!  FreeSmoke UK Vape Shop is the place where you can find many natural flavors such as strawberries or cherries, banana or vanilla, as well as artificial flavours such as tabacco, ice or peanut butter. If you’d like to try something different, you can mix up the flavours as you wish! Also, if you’re not so into mixing and pouring, you cand choose an already mixed eliquid, such as „Teddy Milk”, wich contains milk, cocoa, peanuts butter and biscuits flavours, you will love.

The smart thing in vaping eliquids is that you can choose the amount of nicotine you want for the product you will to buy. You can choose from 0mg to 6mg nicotine strength and still enjoy the pleasure of vaping your favorite flavour.

Vaping eliquids is also smart because you can enjoy the sensation of tasting your favorite mix of flavours without harming not only yourself, but it’s safe for your loved ones too! In compare with tabacco, the smoke from vaping is not dangerous for children or pets and it has a nice smell. Also, it won’t darken your walls if you use to smoke in the house, because nothing is burning there, as in the case of a classic cigarette.
Vaping eliquids is also smart because it’s money-friendly! Just think about all the money you spent in the last year on cigarettes, every month or every single day. A pack of cigarettes it’s enough for only couple of days or even less and has an average price, but a bottle of eliquid shoud be enough for more than two weeks and it’s so much cheaper than tabacco. Get the best offers from FreeSmoke – Eliquid Shop in UK.
Being popular is not so hard to achieve such it was in the high school, but vaping eliquids became popular because the reasons from above and many more.

Hey…how did this get here?

I discovered yesterday that one of the surprise letters from outside North America I received while away was addressed mostly correctly…except for the country! It was addressed to the U.S.A…so I guess someone in the US Postal Service knows that Winnipeg is up here in Canada and shoveled it this way! (I had a picture, but my camera is misbehaving, I’m afraid there may be sand inside of it from the beach, I also wanted to show you a picture of a neat stamp celebrating mail orders, but the focus part of the camera is the part that’s not working…) You’ll just have to believe me about the mis-address. I continue to be impressed with the postal services of the world!

I’ve managed to respond to five letters so far, I’m slowing down now though, as I’m getting to the lovely longer letters, which of course, need to responded to in kind! I still expect to be caught up by the end of the month. (Maaaaybe a little earlier.)

I took a how-to-draw book on sea creatures down south with me, the porpoise is a result. I was quite pleased with what I could accomplish with the help of the book, and am now on the look out for more of them.

In this photo you can see two of the new Canadian stamps for 2012 – a Daylily stamp, and a stamp celebrating the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Apparently there will be another Jubilee stamp made available in April, as well.

Because I was away in January, I missed the Chinese New Year’s stamp (Dragon, this time,) part of a series that has been really popular with my correspondents. But you can still look forward to seeing baby caribou stamps from me, and perhaps a Joe Fafard cow stamp or two as part of the continuing “Art Canada” stamp series. I saw some of Mr. Fafard’s sculptures at the Winnipeg Art Gallery a few years ago, which was neat. Also neat – according to the Canada Post website – “From April of 1951 to October 31, 1969, Joe Fafard’s father, Leopold Victor Fafard, was the postmaster for the small town prairie post office of Ste. Marthe-Rocanville, Saskatchewan.” I’ll definitely have to try and get hold of some of them to share!

Tomorrow I’m going to go to the Michael’s craft store and see if I can find anything fun, they’re having some sort of card stock sale this week here, I’m also hoping for discounted Valentine’s Day stamps, which I’d be happy to hold on to until next year – actually I have some half-completed Valentine’s Day cards that I didn’t quite finish before leaving on vacation this year that I’m working on finishing this week, just to get them off of my desk! (And into my closet.)

Would anyone happen to have sand-removal tips for a camera? Hope you’re having good days!

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