Who says a journalism background is useless? A lot of writers, and they’re wrong. Here’s why.
Dread set in as I was packing for my first solo coastal trip for several days so I can rest, relax and write. Somewhere between replacing jeans with leggings and folding scarves, I froze. Thanks, stress response cycle.
I’ve two longform pieces I’ve been chipping away at for years while working full-time, and I’m determined to finally finish them before the finale of the horrorshow that is 2020. The dread wasn’t coming from the 7-layer crisis we’ve all been eating this year, though. The dread was coming from knowing I’ve so much character development to do in the next week or else my goal of ending 2020 on a sweet note with a comedy script and novel of stories fully done will end up being just another unfulfilled fantasy tearing down my self-confidence.
After I zipped my suitcase and headed to the kitchen to fry some eggs, it hit me! The solution was so obvious. Embarrassingly so because I should’ve thought of it ages ago. All I had to do was apply my reportage skills I practice all the time at my day job as a communications specialist. I’d been spying on these imaginary people for years and listening to them interact as if I were a fly on the wall, but I hadn’t sat down and interviewed them like a journalist on a beat.
So that’s my plan for the next phase of my book and my script: interviewing my characters to learn more about them. Hell, maybe I’ll even make it a date and woo them a bit to get them to talk. It’s better than wining and dining only myself! Which may have been the original source of the aforementioned dread.
Here’s a great how-to resource on getting to know your characters: https://rachelgieselgrimm.com/blog/how-to-really-get-to-know-your-characters-a-questionnaire