Thursday, December 1, 2011

My MC Interviews Me

Recently the MC of my WIP asked if we could have a powwow. She was a little concerned I’d been dancing around the outskirts of her personality, not getting to the heart of who she was. She indicated that by interviewing me I might learn a good deal about her character. Skeptical, I agreed.

MC: What led you to write me?
Me: Fun question. Well, for starters, you’re feisty. I like that about you and you have a specific memory weighing heavily on you. I find that relatable. Your past intrigues me. Heck, your present intrigues me. I want to know more.
MC: Aren’t you afraid they won’t believe I’m real?
Me: Um…how do I put this delicately? You’re not real. I just have to work insanely hard so you’ll come across authentically.
MC: I feel as though I communicate readily to you, why is it then that you only devote blocks of time to me?
Me: Wow, okay, how to explain this…I have a family and a boatload of pressing demands on me at any given moment. Take it as a compliment I carve out time for you.
MC: Do you already know how everything turns out with me? I mean, do you plot out my whole life before you even begin revealing my story?
Me: Kind of. I know a lot about you and what’s going to unravel, but there are still events and other characters in your life that surprise me as I write (much like how it is in my own life).
MC: How do you decide how badly you’ll hurt me and why do you pick the situations you do?
Me: I identify with them in some way. I haven’t experienced everything you have gone through or all the hardships I’m having you endure, but something about them resonates with me. It goes much deeper than outer circumstance. There’s an aspect of the experience that is innately identifiable and I’m trusting other women will feel it, too.
MC: Will people think I’m weird if you write me honestly?
Me: We’re all weird. I think it would be a sham, a dishonesty, to falsify you in any way.
MC: Do things end well for me?
Me: Well is a relative word. I actually don’t know exactly how this one will wrap up. I like it better that way. This way I feel like I can live the novel out with you. You don’t die, does that make you happy?
MC: Uh…but there are some pretty ugly alternatives you’ve been contemplating, aren’t there?
Me: Of course, but not for the ending. Those come first, then comes the resolve. I’m hoping that word gives you some comfort.
MC: I trust you. However, do you think you’ll ever pay me the respect to show up to write me in outerwear other than your pajamas or some getup you slept in?
Me: You know I love you, Hannah, but I just can’t make any promises on this one.

So glad I took the time to hear my MC out. Just this simple exercise reminded me of why I chose to write Hannah. Have you ever tried something out-of-the-box like this to get to know your characters better?

*lake photo from Flickr

Wendy Paine Miller writes women’s fiction, crafting stories with the hope of poking brains and moving thoughts. She graduated with a BA in English from Wittenberg University, where she earned an Honor of Distinction for her accrued knowledge of literature. Wendy feels most alive when she’s speeding in a boat, reading, writing, refurbishing furniture, running, and trusting God. To interact with her, visit


Anonymous said...

Great idea! Thanks for the blog.

Joanne Sher said...

Sooo fun - and yes, a GREAT idea!

Keli Gwyn said...

What a fun way to get to know your character better, Wendy.

Casey said...

I love the character interview, Wendy. :)

I definitely work better on typing someting out in front of me--it's where my best thoughts seem to come out. I could see me doing that in a continuous, no paragraph break format. ;) It'd be a good thing for me to do for my latest books. :)

Terrie Todd said...

What a fun read! Makes me think of how an interview with God might look... "do you already know how everything turns out?" :)

Sarah Forgrave said...

Fun idea, Wendy! I might just have to try this with my MC.

Mary Vee Writer said...

WendyI have seen this format done the other way, with the writer interviewing the mc but not the mc interviewing the writer. Fab idea and one that needs to be contageous.

Cindy R. Wilson said...

Wendy, I love this! I'm going to have to try it with the characters of my new story once I get to work. And your MC sounds fun and feisty. Can't wait to learn more about her!

Jeanne Takenaka said...

Wendy, I just met this morning with our mutual friend, Beth, and I was telling her I don't know my heroine as well as I know her husband (don't take that the wrong way).

I hope you don't mind, but I may just have to borrow this interview format to get to know my heroine better.

Thanks so much for sharing!

Beth K. Vogt said...

As soon as my MC stops interrupting me I'll post a comment (Hush up, I'm trying to type!) ...
I think this post is terrific (Get your invisible hands off my keyboard!) ...
It's so important to know our MC and sometimes we can lose sight of them --I mean, they are imaginary after all (Sorry, don't mean to offend you.) ...

What I'm trying to say, Wendy, is this post is brilliant. Great technique. Now to give my MC some much-needed attention.
(You happy now, MC?)


Wendy Paine Miller said...

Freya, Hey, no prob. All teamwork here on this blog.

Joanne, It surprised me how much fun I had with this one.

Keli, It was weighing on me how she kept dodging me. This helped.

Casey, Stream of c. is such a cool way of writing. I love it for brainstorming.

Terrie, A similar thought crossed my mind as I wrote this (how I answered some of the questions). Made myself think. ;)

Sarah, Let me know if you do and the outcome.

Mary, I've seen it that way, too. Thought I'd mix it up a bit. Would be cool if it's contageous!

Cindy, She's a trip! I'm really enjoying her. So much of writing is about the characters for me.

Jeanne, Borrow away & next time you two hang out, I'm flying in to join the party!

Okay, Beth, you and I seriously need to go on a writer's retreat together. Your comment was too much fun!

Thanks all for feedback on this one. It goes down as one of my favorite posts to write and I'm over 500 on that one.

~ Wendy

Unknown said...

Now that was a fun interview. Did it help you get to know Hannah better? She seemed very authentic to me. Have fun writing on!