Character Development

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What makes an interesting story? Is it the plot? The characters? I think it’s a little bit of both. After all, could you truly have a dynamic story if the plot is banging, but the characters suck or vice versa? While in the process of writing Twisted, I stumbled upon a writing exercise that I found pretty helpful in flushing out who my characters are. This entailed getting to know their mannerisms, how they speak, and how they think. I documented all of these observations into an “interview.” Before I knew it, I discovered more about my characters than I thought I would. I’ve posted AJ’s “interview” below. If you’re interested in other character interviews they’re under the Twisted Greens tab. How do you dig deeper into your characters? As always, I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment or find me on social media:

Alistair Davis Jameson (AJ) Q&A:

The tall young man walked into the room wearing a pair of basketball shorts, an old shirt, and a pair of sneakers covered in bits of grass and mud. He slouched down in the metal chair across the table and sighed. He ran his fingers through his shaggy dark brown hair in an effort to clear his line of vision. His hazel eyes briefly glanced around the room before turning their attention to the interviewer. His expression was blank, fingers interlaced as his hands rested on the table. He shook his leg as he waited to see if the interviewer would speak first. The young man and the interviewer stared at each other as each second ticked by. Finally, the young man folded his arms in front of his chest. He took a deep breath. “I heard you have some questions for me,” he said. “I kind of need to speed this up. I have an errand to run.”

Interviewer: Who are you?

AJ: Is this a real question dude? [He huffed] You know who I am. You’re the one who called me in here.

Interviewer: For the record please.

AJ: [He rolled his eyes] Fine. My name is AJ, but I’m sure you’d like my entire legal name, right? It’s Alistair Davis Jameson Jr.

Interviewer: Thank you AJ. Now, What do you want more than anything?

AJ: Wow. [He smirked] That’s a loaded question. Are you looking for generic answers like world peace or do you want a real answer?

Interviewer: You tell me AJ.

AJ: [He paused for a moment while briefly glancing at the ceiling] It can only be one thing?

Interviewer: Yes.

AJ: [He scratched his chin] Well shit, if it’s just one thing, I’d have to say success earned by my own two hands.

Interviewer: Care to elaborate?

AJ: [He grinned] Come on! You know me! You know who I am and who my parents are. [He leaned across the table] I think you know what I mean. [He smiled as he shook his head while waiting for the interviewer to respond. He leaned back, one arm propped on the back of the chair] Seriously? [He asked after a moment of silence] Damn, this must be how Dr. Alice’s patients feel in a session with her. [He stopped smiling. He quickly shook his hair out of his eyes] I want to build my own successes without help from my parents. I don’t want their kind of success. There, are you happy?

Interviewer: What do you mean by “their kind of success?”

AJ: [He smirked] I’ll just say that the success they achieved didn’t make them happy or better people.

 Interviewer: How far would you go to be successful?

 AJ: [He smiled] Damn near anything, but I don’t want my parents’ assistance. I want to learn and figure shit out on my own and in my own way.

Interviewer: Why is success so important to you?

AJ: Dude, I don’t think anyone walks around wanting to be a failure. I’m no exception. I just don’t want my parents involved.

Interviewer: You keep saying you don’t want your parents’ help, yet your mother is a pretty successful psychiatrist and your father had a successful business.

AJ: Yeah, well, professional success isn’t everything and my father’s business didn’t turn out too well.

Interview: Ok. Your answer leads into the next question; how do you feel about the people in your life?

AJ: [He threw his hands in the air before running them through his hair] Jesus dude! Did Dr. Alice hire you to ask all this? I mean is she trying to covertly figure out what I’m thinking, where my head is? [He sat up straighter and took a deep breath before returning is hands to the table] Everyone is cool. Ok? I’ve got a great girlfriend. I’ve got a cool friend. My dad is trying to get back on his feet. My mother is successful, as you pointed out, and my sister is doing just peachy in law school. [He counted his fingers as he listed the people in his life] I think that covers all the important people.

Interviewer: That doesn’t answer the question. How do you feel about all those people you just named?

AJ: [Indistinct mumbling as he leaned forward in his chair. He stared icily into the interviewers eyes] What is the point of all these questions?

Interviewer: Answer the question please. The quicker you answer the quicker you can leave.

AJ: [He sighed as he leaned back into the chair. He shifted his weight and repositioned is hands into the pockets of his shorts] I love Savannah, my girlfriend, a lot. I’d do anything for her. I also love my parents. By far I’m closer to my dad than my mother. I feel that’s he’s a more genuine person than my mother could ever be. He’s very vulnerable; especially in light of this Owen Chandler shit. At the same time, I feel as though my dad can be a bit weak at times, even before shit hit the fan. He’s definitely dramatic, which I think clouds his judgment and ability to see things through. [He paused as he stared into the distance]  I don’t want to ever be weak like him. [He looked down at the table. A slow grin spread across his face] Now where my father lacks in personality, my mother more than makes up for it. I mean fuck! Talk about overbearing! [He laughed] My sister, Sage, is cool. We don’t talk as much since she moved away for law school. She’s my mother ‘s perfect child. Ethan, my friend is cool too. He kind of reminds me of my dad at times. I mean, with the theatrics and all. He can be pretty damn dramatic at times.

Interviewer: Do you not get along with your mother?

AJ: It’s complicated, you’d understand if you really knew her. I hope you ask her all this shit you’ve asked me. [He paused and shrugged] Lets just say she wanted me to play tennis and I wanted to do karate.

Interviewer: Care to elaborate?

AJ: [He rubbed the bridge of his nose with his left thumb and forefinger] Again, it’s complicated. [He sighed] I’m just not the son she could mold into the masculine version of herself. I don’t do everything she tells me to do, like Sage. I don’t want to be a lawyer, or any other bullshit professional for that matter. I don’t want to go into real estate with my father. I didn’t want to play tennis, golf, or lacrosse. I don’t dress the way she wants me to dress. I don’t date the girls she approves. The list goes on. [He rubbed his forehead before placing is hands flat against the table] I just want to be my own man and she can’t stand that.

Interviewer: One last question, how do you feel about yourself?

 AJ: [He sat back in the chair, folding his arms confidently across his chest. A sly grin spread across his face] I think I’m one smart, cool ass dude. I’ll get what I want on my own terms. [He paused] Are we done now? I really need to go.

3 thoughts on “Character Development

  1. I read Twisted Greens and think it is very suspenseful and intriquing! I find the interview of the character a very interesting way to get to know AJ! For the readers as well as the author! I would like to get to know some of the other characters. I think Theresa would be fascinating!

    • Thanks for stopping by Karen! I’m glad you enjoyed reading Twisted. As far as other character “interviews,” that’s something I’ll have to work on. Some of these characters are a little shy about sharing their feelings! 😉

  2. Pingback: 10 Random (Yet Comical) Writer Memes | S.M. Dahman

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