How do I dig deeper with my character?

Rohan N. asked: After my first pre-interview, with a small business owner, they create soy candles, I have come to realise that I have a good charter personality profile, i think. But released that I don't have much of her story. So could it be they way that I communicate the questions to her, or was I asking the wrong questions? Or, is profiling the person's personality part of a or the process to get to the deeper story behind why they do what they do?

It sounds like you were having trouble digging deeper into your character's Complexity (the why behind her Desire) as well as some of her potential Plot Points, or the different moments and forces that shaped this character and changed her path (these later come together to help you form that emotional arc, or structure, of your story.)

You might have missed the set of questions we offered at the end of the People Pillar Recap that were meant to help give you some guidance on how to uncover some of these things.

In the challenges you were having, some questions that would be particularly useful would be questions like:

  • Why are you doing this?
  • What led you to this?
  • When did your connection to this start?
  • Why soy candles instead of any other product?

Or perhaps you DID ask her questions like these, and she didn't really have an answer. Perhaps she said something like "I don't know" or "just because." And in this case, it may be that she hasn't made those connections in her life herself, and it's then up to you to challenge her on those inconsistencies. Most of us don't just wake up with the idea to start selling soy candles, there are a series of events and forces that have led us to that point. As the storyteller then, you can help her realize what connecting events/moments those were in her life.

And to really explore all of the options that might be in play here, perhaps her Complexity as a potential Heart just wasn't all that strong. If the why behind her Desire is simply to earn a lot of money, without any real purpose behind it, she may just have a weaker Complexity then we seek in the Heart of our story.

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