Sunday, March 6, 2011

Meet Jeremiah Mekler!

The old man was sitting on a wooden chair. He was reading a thick book when I arrived.
"Sorry for being late," I started. "The traffic was horrible."
"Think nothing of it," He said with a smile. "I've read this book a thousand times over."
I smiled back, and sat on the sofa in front of him. "Shall we begin then?" I asked.
He nodded and leaned back, placing the book on his knees.

Meet Jeremiah Mekler, the protagonist of my first book.

Why am I writing about him? Well, because I can't write about myself. By using Jeremiah's voice, I hope to be able to explore sensitive aspects of my life without exposing myself in the process. Using Jeremiah, I can write freely, relying on the fact that no one will be able to tell fiction from fact, at least not that easily.

But am I Jeremiah? Are his experiences mine? Does he share all my secrets, and all my feelings?


I am not Jeremiah. I don't even know him very well. I plan to get to know him, through my book. Through the act of describing his feelings, his goals, his decisions and actions.

But before I start writing about him, I need to get to know him a little better. So I'm going to interview him. This interview is not going to be included in my book, but his answers might.

Browsing through Writers Stack Exchange, I found a lot of good advice about how to get to know your characters. Fox Cutter, for example, offered the following advice:
For me, I like to interview them. I have a series of loose questions that I like to have them answer. It helps me not only round out there backstory but get an idea how they will react to situations.
This isn't the first time I've heard of the above technique. It sounds reasonable and productive enough, so I am going to apply it and present the various stages of the interview here in this blog as a writing exercise.

"Feel free to stop me if my questions are too nosy," I said with a smile. "I won't be offended in any way."
Jeremiah gave me a sad, knowing look. "I will." he said, and I wondered what does he have to hide.

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