This character-building idea turns the concept of the interview around. Instead of interviewing a character about themselves, you interview the other characters in your story about one particular character. This gives you a profile of the character as seen by other people. It can also help you set up potential conflicts and plot points by revealing hidden bonds and tensions between characters.

A character might consider herself to be insightful, brave, and authoritative, while that character’s sister might view her as bossy, opinionated, and unreliable. A husband may think his wife is supportive and loyal, while the other man she is secretly seeing believes she wants her husband dead. A man’s boss may think of him as the hard-working backbone of the company while that man’s children may think of him as the jerk who was never there when they needed him.

The most basic method of using other characters to create a profile is to have each give a general description from their perspective. A character might, for example, be profiled by her husband, sister, son, boss, co-worker, best friend, former friend, old boyfriend, and neighbor. Each would discuss their opinion of her and experiences with her. Don’t feel as if all the characters who give their opinion have to be major characters or fully developed themselves. By using one character to profile another, you will find out more about both characters.

If you want to be more creative, look for ways to make the interview process fit the nature of the story. For example, you can create the profile as if it were a class discussion, news article, police interview, or a reality show. You can also set up general questions for every character to answer or tailor questions to fit each character’s position and perspective.

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