I'm currently at a coffee shop, looking through a book Brian recommended called Getting Into Character by Brandilyn Collins. (Full story: B actually only recommended the first few chapters; he said the ones after that weren't as helpful.)
As readers of this blog know, I like to do an interview with my characters to help me get to know them. Collins suggests a similar exercise, and breaks the questioning into three levels of intimacy; A for small-talk-like questions, B for follow-up questions, and C for deeper questions, the kind you'd ask of someone you really wanted to get to know.
For example, an "A" question might be, Where did you grow up? A "B" question might be, Did you enjoy that place? A "C" question might be, What's your best and worst memories from living there?
I'm starting to think about my NaNoWriMo character, MC. Here is an interview with her. I'm going to try to progress from "A" questions to "B" questions and then to "C" questions.
Where did you grow up?
Outside of San Francisco
What do you do?
I'm a bartender
Where do you live now?
How many siblings do you have?
Are you with anyone?
When was your last relationship?
I'm not really a relationship kind of person. I have a few fuck buddies, guy friends who I have good sex with. All the benefits of a relationship with none of the mess.
Do your parents still live in CA?
They're divorced, have been for years. She still lives in the same house we moved to after the divorce. He lives in Hawaii
Do you like your job?
Sure. It's a job, you know? I get to sleep late, get paid to hang out and talk with cool people. In fact, my customers are my closest friends. We don't hang out outside of the bar, but I enjoy their company and laughs inside of it.
What are your least favorite parts of it?
Getting hit on my the non-regulars. The hangovers.
Are you close with your parents?
That would be a big no. I haven't seen my dad in 10 years. Well, 5 if you count my sister's funeral, but I didn't talk to him there. My mom is another story. we were never really close, but we got along fine. Sarah and I would visit her for Christmas and whatever. But we haven't talked much in the last few years.
I thought you said you were an only child?
Well, yea, I am now. I lie about this every time someone asks. Sarah killed herself 5 years ago.
That's awful. I'm so sorry.
Is this what you imagined your life to be like at 29?
No. I was supposed to have some smart person job. I went to college. And Sarah was supposed to have finally relented and moved to Boston. Or maybe I would've moved to New York to be with her. I guess that depends on whether she was still with Eric. He was what was keeping her there, I knew. I also wasn't supposed to be drinking so much. I was supposed to see my mom's problem and recognize it as something I should avoid. But all of this changed when Sarah died.
Are you mad at her?
What's the point.
[After a few drinks]
Sure, I'm pissed. How could she leave me? How could she leave me to deal with our parents and life all alone? Why didn't she tell me what was going on?