Are Character Interviews Worth the Effort?
Guest post by T. R. Robinson
I first came across character interviews here in Alex’s Library of Erana blog. There have been a couple elsewhere but the majority have been here. Now for a bit of honesty: My initial thought? ‘Silly and pointless.’ As a consequence, I simply glanced (not even sped read) through a couple and thereafter ignored them. I now feel a little ashamed. It is not usual for me to make such determinations prior to fully investigating the validity and seeking to comprehend people’s motivations. Why I did not do so in this instance I am not sure. I suspect it may have been I was new to authoring and probably, as most when first setting out on a new career, felt under pressure to complete a work and to interact in social media. Time pressure in other words: there never seems to be enough for all we want to do. Of course, this is no excuse but I hope it helps readers understand.
Character interviews appear to remain a rarity. I certainly see few. Nevertheless, I now take more note of them. One question that occurs: Who are these interviews for? The author or the reader? I would say both. I will consider them in reverse order.
Of what interest are character interviews to readers?
- (Perhaps with the exception of some self-help or scientific books, the majority of readers are looking to be entertained.)
- (Usually provide further idea of the character’s true nature, aims and goals.)
- (Provide some backstory details which will enhance the eventual read. Assuming they do go on to read the book the character is in.)
- (Build interest in and expectations for a story.)
What benefits do character interviews provide for authors?
- Display writing skill. (Readers do not readily pick up books by unknown authors. These free interviews provide them with an idea of what they could expect from the author’s books.)
- Avoid ‘padding’. (Able to fill-out character personalities with additional information that would not fit or be appropriate to include in the primary manuscript.)
- Know characters. (Authors are advised, for best results, to fully know their charters by writing biographies. Interviews go part way, probably a long way, toward this aim.)
- Refreshed mind. (Continuous writing on the same theme can lead to fatigue and some degree of stagnation. Writing something different usually breaks the trend.)
- Marketing/Publicity. (Done right, interviews may set a story’s scene and create intrigue and interest in it.)
Of course, the above are by no means the full extent of what readers and authors may gain from these interviews. Everyone is different.
Worth the Effort?
Back to the original question.
Having now admonished and corrected myself, I may unequivocally state, as far as I am concerned, character interviews do have their place in the reading and authoring world. Now, with respect to Alex’s own books: Fantasy is not a genre I usually read, or if I am honest, really enjoy, at least that has generally tended to be my past experience. Nevertheless, I have read and reviewed Alex’s Tales of Erana: Myths and Legends and have to say I enjoyed it. That was in December 2017. I have not read any others since but admit some of the character interviews here have intrigued and inspired me to contemplate reading more in the genre.
So far I have not undertaken interviews for any of my own characters. This is primarily due to the fact I write in the memoir and biographical fiction genre where, most frequently, who the person is forms an integral part of the tale. However, in view of how much I have enjoyed Alex’s character interviews, I may consider undertaking a few for some of the fictional charters I have utilised to enhance the real events within the biographical fiction and short story collections. There, see, I have been inspired. From sceptic I am now a believer.
Thank you Alexandra for giving me this opportunity to share some of my thoughts with your readers.
In addition to authoring T. R. Robinson provides free guidance, tips and ideas for both authors and readers.
T. R.’s Primary Website and Blog: https://trrobinsonpublications.com
T. R.’s More Personal Blog: https://trmemoirs.wordpress.com