How to Meet Your Characters Without Doing Tons of Character Worksheets

If you’ve been writing for any length of time, you’ve probably come across that one blog that suggests character interviews is the solution to every writer’s writing block. Then they’ll give you a long fill-in-the-blank worksheet that has questions entirely irrelevant to your character’s interests. Why do you want to know about their love life? Who cares if they have a theme song? And they don’t have time for sports — the world is at stake, for Pete’s sake!

I will say that Charahub is a pretty legit place for these kinds of questions, but I personally think interviews are mostly useless unless you’ve already got a pretty good grasp on the character’s main interests that pertain specifically to the plot of your story. Only after you figure out their most immediate concerns (saving the world), can you focus on love lives and sports.

That being said, over the years I’ve discovered different ways to learn your character’s psyche — and some of these ways I’ve never heard recommended anywhere else.

Know Your Characters

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Heritage Foundation Artwork

Video

My dad was working on a presentation at the Heritage Foundation in the coming week or so, and asked if I would be willing to illustrate a few of his key points in the PowerPoint. He wanted me to depict how someone would feel if their employer treated them different ways and asked for the three emotions of “beaming,” “crushed,” and “frustrated.”

I also screen recorded the process and put together a speed art video below.

heritage-drawings