Story Stuff: U Is For Underwear

What the frick does underwear have to do with writing a story? you may be asking.

U

On S day we talked about stereotypes. Today’s post in our series is a strategy for avoiding accidental stereotypes: knowing thy characters. Inside and out. What their jobs, hobbies, favorite foods, preferred music, and maybe kinky tendencies are. Because the more we know our characters, even if all the details don’t end up in the narrative (and they shouldn’t), the more they become “real.”

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Some writers are big believers in character interviews, where they “ask” their characters about themselves. The image below is an example and can obviously be adapted for female characters.

character interview

See that “What clothes does he wear?” question?

Underwear.

Boxers or briefs.

Just saying.

I’m going to repeat this, because it bears repeating: the more you know your character, the more real they become.

So to practice this, I thought it would be fun to answer some of these questions about one of our characters. Pick a few (up to, say, 6) from the graphic and answer them in the comments. Introduce us to your character.

I’m going to use Levin from the Project Renovatio series for my interview, asking one question from each section. I’m also changing the questions to second person to make them more interview-like.

Where do you live? I lived in Denver when I learned about the Project, but now I live in a remote camp in Montana.

What is your greatest fear? Losing my loved ones. I will do anything to keep them safe.

How would you describe yourself? I’m intelligent and driven but sometimes insecure. My sister would say I can do more than I think. 

What is the best gift you could receive? The news that I could go home and live like a normal person. Or a Starbucks gift card. I really like coffee.

What clothes do you wear? I like to blend, so I’ll wear anything I can find at Target. And to answer your next question, boxers.

Haha, he’s such a funny guy.

What makes you laugh? My little sister, Dayla, can make me laugh without trying. And once she figures out what gets me she does that over and over.

Your turn! Tell us about your character. I don’t have a character. What are you talking about?

No, Levin. I mean the other writers.

Oh. That’s cool. I’m meeting Daniel for lunch anyway. Later.

Bye. Keep an eye on the news.

I always do.

12 thoughts on “Story Stuff: U Is For Underwear

  1. Pingback: Character Interview: Samantha (Sam) From Poggibonsi | Dan Alatorre - AUTHOR

  2. Pingback: Blogging From A to Z Challenge – Theme Reveal! | Allison Maruska

  3. Your turn! Tell us about your character.
    Samantha from Poggibonsi:

    Where do you live?
    Is this the first interview question? Are we starting? Where are the drinks? I was told there’d be drinks. Why does anybody wanna know where I live? That’s creepy. Atlanta. If you want to know more than that you’d better buy me dinner. Or at least the drinks I was promised. How did something as simple as a cocktail get messed up? What about wine? Is there at least wine?

    What is your greatest fear?
    Right now I’m kinda fearing there aren’t gonna be drinks. That was in the email I got, I’m pretty sure. Complimentary cocktails. I really wasn’t planning on doing the interview sober. I’m a very private person. Probably. Okay, god, my greatest fear. I… I – are we going in depth here, like Oprah style? I fear… rambling. And looking like a freaking alcoholic. But the drinks were to calm my nerves so I could do the interview. Okay I’m shutting up. This is going way worse than I thought. I’m not this stupid sounding in real life. Honest.

    How would you describe yourself?
    Smart! Despite the first two answers. And sexy – if you’re single and live in the Atlanta area. And male, I should probably add that. “Sam” is short for Samantha. Rich doesn’t hurt. Good looks – that’s probably a given. God, I’m rambling again. See? That’s why we needed drinks. Okay, stopping talking now. Next question. Jesus, this is a disaster.

    What is the best gift you could receive?
    Those first two questions over. First three. I’m sure I was supposed to pimp the book in here somewhere, but that’s shot now, too.

    What clothes do you wear?
    Aha, see, now that’s a question I can answer. I’m a casual girl, but ya gotta look sharp at work, ladies. If you ever wanna catch the eye of the boss, be the first to arrive and the last to leave, and a sharp pair of stilettos never hurts. Just sayin’. Be indispensable to your boss, his right-hand man. But don’t forget he loves his wife, and no matter what kind of stupid, school girl fantasies you’re entertaining, he’s not gonna leave her, so don’t waste the best years of your stinking life chasing a pipe dream because… Uh, I kinda got off track there. Clothes, was it? Anne Klein for those of you just entering the work world. Then move up to Versace or Givency, if you can. And, hold on, Googling… yeah, those two and maybe – man, look at that. What time is it? I may need to go see if they have this at Nordstrom’s in my size. Oh, and good jeans that are comfortable, too. Try Buckle. You look sexy with heels or boots or barefoot, and they have some very blingy styles.

    What makes you laugh?
    I think reading this interview is gonna make me cry. Laugh, huh? Well, let’s see. Lots of stuff. I have a pretty good sense of humor. I guess if I was gonna say anything, I’d say watching comedy movies with my dad. He laughs easily and that makes me laugh. Also, there’s a guy I used to work with who was… let’s just say he had a great smile. He was funny sometimes, but he was, well, he was a good guy and a good boss, and he… Yeah, can we delete that last part and just go with my dad? Let’s do that. Do you have a tissue? I swear that email said there’d be drinks.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Tee-hee, I have to say, your hook was good. 😉 Ok, here’s my new YA character, Emma:
    Where do you live? Ugh, a super boring, suburban town. There’s like 50 people here… Ok, there’s more than that, I don’t know the exact number…
    How would you describe yourself? Ummm, I guess I would say I’m friendly and positive. I like to laugh. I’m also sensitive, though.
    What’s the best way to cheer you up? Ice cream! Preferably cookie dough, with giant cookie dough chunks!
    Greatest fear? Being alone. Like, forever.
    What clothes do you wear? Well, most days I wear my school uniform, which is a plaid skirt and a white blouse. On the weekends, I like to wear fun socks! I guess just whatever I like. My favorite shirt is white with little cherries all over it.

    🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Where does he live? London, when I’m at home.
    What does he do? Look devilishly handsome while pulling off the impossible for queen and country.
    How does he act when he’s angry? I’ll knock your block off and never think twice about it.
    Greatest Strength? I’m a strategic thinker. Always outside the box, that’s how you yanks put it right? And if that means I end up getting someone else outside their box, all the better.
    Favorite book? laughing, you think I don’t read, do you? Well, I do. Mostly non fiction. I like to know where other people in my line of work screwed it up.
    Greatest Fear? Now you’re getting personal. What makes you think I would tell you that? Tell half the world that? oh alright.
    One day, I’m going to be old for this, and then what will I have left….

    Liked by 1 person

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