15 questions you should be able to answer about characters in your novel

From 15 Questions Authors Should Ask Characters

Let’s do Standing Stone today:

What would mentally destroy your character?

Will: Losing Joe. I… I can’t. I just can’t. After losing Bobby in the shooting and he was just my partner, I couldn’t lose Joe. He’s my life. He’s the air that I breathe. I was so dead inside and just going through the motions before he came into my life. I can’t go through that again. I would die without him.

Joe: I don’t know. I… I can’t say losing Will. I lost Cain. He died. Everything crashed down on us. And I lost him twice. Once to our families and then to death. Cain was… I loved him. I still love him. Not the way I love Will but he’s always there. His ghost is always with me and I don’t know what it would take to lay him to rest. I’ve lost everything and I survived. I had Will. He gave me the strength to lose the last of it. I would go on if I lost him. I would do the same thing I did before. One foot in front of another. I know… I would probably go back to being what I was then. Ray says I had a suicidal bent. I don’t think it was so much that as I was expendable. I would go back to being expendable. I’m not now. There is Will. I’m not expendable. I, well, I love him and he loves me and I’m important. Does that make sense?

How does your character feel about his mother and father?

Will: God, they died so long ago that anything I tell you would be fantasy. I love them. They were my parents and my world but we never got to the pre-teen and teenage years. I was lucky in my foster homes. I know that. The two that I had kept me. I know the first, the Marlowes, would have kept me but when Mr. Marlowe died, it just wasn’t possible. They were older and maybe I was lucky because the Galens were younger and handled my teen years better. I am grateful to them all for being the parents I needed when I needed them. They were good people. I was really lucky. What? Oh. I was 5 when my parents died. It wasn’t until later I found the rest of my family but that’s another story.

Joe: I hate them. I hate them with every breath I take. I don’t want to talk about it.

When did your character feel completely loved and accepted?

Will: As I said I was lucky. My parents and then my foster parents all gave that to me. When I told the Galens I was gay all they said was “So?” It was just a normal thing for them. What a gift they gave me. I think that’s why I took it so hard when I was outed and lost Mac. I lost the support of most of the police force and Mac… Mac just had to have his career and it didn’t include being out. I loved him. It shattered me when I lost him in the face of losing my friends on the force. Then when Bobby, my partner who stood by me and told me the same things the Galens said, died, I just… cracked. I’m still cracked. Not broken but cracked. Ray and Jim and Tristan held me together. And Bobby’s wife. God… With all her pain, she helped me. I can’t ever repay that. Joe… Joe was a lovely bonus. I know I’m still damaged but it is so much easier now.

Will. That simple. Will. I don’t have to hide who I am. Cain loved me. Ray loved and accepted me and Cain. But Cain was his twin. But I still had to hide who I was from our parents and so did Cain. With Will, I don’t have to hide and he doesn’t hide. It feels so strange sometimes. He’s my strength.

What would have to happen to make your character speak out, or, defend a stranger, in public?

Will: I’m a cop. It’s what I do.

Joe: First I was a Marine now I’m a cop. It’s in the job descriptions.

What does he lie about?

Will: I lie to Joe when I say I don’t love Mac any more. I still do. Not the way I did and not the way I love Joe but I still love him. I don’t regret what we lost which says a lot. I use to regret it all the time and wonder if I couldn’t have lived the lie. I also wonder if I hadn’t been outed what would have happened. Not so much any more. I think the therapy is bringing all this up. I never dealt with it before the shooting and it’s still there as unfinished business. There was never any question of going back to Mac when he showed up. It was over. It’s just… love doesn’t vanish no matter what and part of me still thinks it was my fault when I know it was Mac’s choices and he gave me away.

Joe: God… I lied for so long. I lied about my life. I lied about my sexual preference. I lied about everything… What do I lie about now? Mac. It isn’t all jealousy about Will. Part of me wishes I had what Will had. I’m… attracted to him. Very attracted to him. I… Forget it.

Does your character need friends?

Will: If it wasn’t for my friends I would never have survived everything. Jim and Ray and my cousin Tristan and Bobby’s wife and… the list is long. If it wasn’t for them. I think I wouldn’t be here.

Joe: No. I learned when I was undercover to depend only on myself and trust no one. Friends are a luxury. Love, like Will, is a wonderful gift.

What physical thing does your character fear most?

Will: Let’s see. I’ve been shot. Almost eaten by a llama. I don’t care what Joe says. That sucker wanted to eat me. What physical thing do I fear the most? Heights. Do not tell Joe. Looking down makes me sick to my stomach.

Joe: Physical? Physical pain and fear are temporary. What? I have to say something? Okay fine. The Dentist. I hate the damn dentist.

If your character could choose to spend his last day alive with one person (dead or alive), who would he choose?

Will: Joe. Who else?

Joe: One person? Will. Yeah, if I could have two, I would also choose Cain.

What is his defining strength?

Will: My defining strength? I can run away from llamas, fast. Very fast. Seriously? Okay. Love. I can love.

Joe: Will. He defines me and he’s the strength I needed to be who I always was.

Is he able to work for someone else?

Will: Ray. It helps he’s my best friend.

Joe: Ray. He’s like a brother to me.

Does your character have a positive or negative body image?

Will: Positive. I’ve always been told how handsome or pretty I am and it wasn’t just to get laid. I know my looks are unusual. I may look Native American but my hair changes color when the light hits it. It’s fascinating to some. [Will shivers remember Christopher]

Joe: Body image? I guess positive. I mean it lets me do what I want and men are attracted to it.

Who, or what, would your character die for?

Will: Joe. I would die for Joe because without him, I’m dead.

Joe: I tried so damn long to die. I think it should be who would you live for. I would live for Will.

Does your character have a plan for tomorrow? Next week? Next year?

Will: Tomorrow? Get up and go to work. Next week? Get up and go to work. Next year? Ah by then we should have decided on a wedding date now that we can get married here in Pennsylvania. After we finish fighting over when. We both agree if it is warm, it should be in Joe’s yard under the big maple tree. The problem is we can’t agree on the date and what to wear. I think white tuxes but Joe hates white.

Joe: Tomorrow? The same as today except it’s Monday so we will go to work. Ditto for next week. Well except some of Tut’s harem is due and Will’s present is about to be delivered. No, I won’t tell you what I got him. Next year? Oh please God let this damn wedding crap get done. I want to marry him. I would be happy just going to the Justice of the Peace and saying “I do.” but Will wants a wedding. A big wedding. Anything more than 5 people is big. I hate weddings. And I will not wear white. I don’t care Will says it looks spectacular with my tan.

Is your character resilient enough to change?

Will: God yes. One day at a time. I’ve learned that much in my therapy.

Joe: I’m out now aren’t I?

What would your character think if he could see you now?

Will: Liver and onions for lunch? Am I invited?

Joe: So are you making mashed potatoes to go with that?

And dredged back up for
The Interview

Originally published on:  Dec 14, 2014 @ 13:00