Slap a Bitch – Character Interviews

The problem with immersing yourself in a community of fellow writers is that you get bombarded with advice. Don’t get me wrong, most of it is excellent, but sometimes there’s a little morsel that just sticks in my throat the wrong way.

I’m probably not explaining myself correctly. Let’s try again.

I read a blog post a little while ago where a fantasy author (I will find it and credit you, I promise), suggested that you interview your characters, especially when working on their dialogue.

Good idea!

I subsequently allowed the thought to ferment in my brain, and a few weeks later, WHABAM! It reappeared, larger than life (as ideas do), and demanded I act on it.

So, easy enough I thought. I’ll drag some of my characters into a small room with me (one at a time, lest they start slapping each other), and then ask them a few innocuous questions to see what pops up.

Ha! There’s a bit of my life I’ll never get back again.

So here’s what they had to say:

Phoenix – The Dome AI

Hi Phoenix. Thank you for coming through.

Me

Good P.M. Ronel. How may I be of assistance?

Phoenix

I’m doing a character interview, and since you’re such an integral part of the story, I would love to ask you some questions. First off, tell us a little about yourself.

Me

Please wait.

Phoenix

Uh… why?

Me

I have estimated that it would take fourteen hours, thirty seven minutes to explain my functions. Would you like me to send you a transcript?

Phoenix

Could you maybe just tell me in a few words?

Me

I do not understand your query. Would you like me to compress the transcript?

Phoenix

No, could you tell me in three words what you do, or are, or just something. Anything. I have people that want to know.

Me

Please wait.

Phoenix

You still there, Phoenix?

Me

Processing query. Please wait.

Phoenix

Phoenix, look, I still have a few other characters to interview-

Me

I have processed your query.

Phoenix

And?

Me

I… run… everything.

Phoenix

Oooookay. Uh, thanks for your time.

Me

Private Jinx

Private Jinx, Luiperd Division, Rooivalk Digger Colony reporting for duty, sir!

Jinx

Hi Jinx, thanks for taking the time out to meet with me.

Me

Sir, yes sir.

Jinx

It’s me Jinx, the author. I’d like to ask you a few questions. You can sit down, if you want.

Me

I’d prefer to stand, sir.

Jinx

You can call me Ronel.

Me

I’d prefer to stand, Ronel.

Jinx

Okay.

Me

* clears throat *

Tell me a little about yourself, Jinx.

Me

What do you wish to know, si-uh-Ronel?

Jinx

What are your favourite pastimes?

Me

Sir?

Jinx

What do you like to do for fun?

Me

I train.

Jinx

And when you’re not training?

Me

Then I’m either eating, shitting or sleeping sir-uh-Ronel.

Jinx

Okay, just keep the language PG, will you? Other than that, don’t you do anything for fun?

Me

Fun, sir?

Jinx

Okay, you know what, let’s move on. What do you consider your greatest strength?

Me

I can bench 50k’s, sir.

Jinx

I think you misunderstood me. I meant, what is your strongest attribute?

Me

I can also do one-hundred fifty push ups Sir.

Jinx

Jinx, you’re not listening to me. I want to know-

Me

… three… four… five…

Jinx

Please stop doing pushups. Jinx?

Me

… seven… eight…. nine…

Jinx

Stop, just stop! I don’t need you to prove anything to me. If you say you can do x amount of whatever, I believe you.

Me

Is it because I’m a woman?

Jinx

* sighs*

Onyx – Scientist at Lambent Laboratories

Greetings.

Onyx

Hi Onyx, thanks for meeting with-

Me

Will this interview take long?

Onyx

Uh, no, just a few minutes-

Me

Could you not just have forwarded me the interview questions? I am in the middle of a crucially important project.

Onyx

Yes, I know how busy you are, I AM the author-

Me

I assume you wish to know who I am, what I do for ‘fun’, and which elements of my personality I consider the most appealing, no?

Onyx

Yes, but how did you-

Me

I’m a scientist. My greatest strengths are my intellect, reasoning and logic skills. And passtimes are for people who have nothing better to do with their time than waste it. Are we done?

Onyx

Actually, that’s very little to go on. Could you elaborate-

Me

No. That’s all you need to know.

Onyx

Did he just walk out?

Me

Peppermint – Lives in the dome

Hi Peppermint, come inside. Uh, are you looking for something?

Me

Where’s your weEat? I’m dying of thirst.

Peppermint

We don’t have that stuff here. So, I just wanted to ask you some-

Me

So where does your coffee come from?

Peppermint

We just use kettles and things.

Me

What’s a kettle?

Peppermint

Don’t they teach you anything in the Academy? Peppermint? Hello?

Me

Huh?

Peppermint

Are you okay? You look a little… disorientated.

Me

Fine, fine. You don’t have a weEat?

Peppermint

No, I’m afraid not. Look, I just have a few quick questions. Tell me a little about yourself.

Me

Why don’t you just look me up in your weConnect?

Peppermint

I don’t have that. You’ll just have to tell me the old-fashioned way.

Me

What do you want to know?

Peppermint

Well, what do you do?

Me

When?

Peppermint

Whenever.

Me

You want to see my calendar?

Peppermint

No, I just mean, tell me about yourself.

Me

Oh. Okay. Well, I’ve got like a gazillion badges. My latest one was supposed to be for a VR but-

Peppermint

No spoilers in this interview please. Tell me what you do for fun.

Me

Everything.

Peppermint

Is there something specific that you find fun?

Me

Well, there’s this thing me and my clustermates like to do where Nick and Maple-

Peppermint

I’m going to have to stop you there.

Me

Data, you’re such a pluck. What’s the point of the interview, then?

Peppermint

I’m sure you can tell me something that doesn’t involve… PG rated stuff.

Me

Uh…. well…

Peppermint

Okay, tell me about your greatest strength.

Me

Here, let me show you.

Peppermint

Hey! What are you doing?

Me

Just relax. Hey, I think I have a lOOp somewhere. You want?

Peppermint

No, I don’t do drugs.

Me

Data, you’re such a pluck.

Peppermint

Yes, I know, you’ve mentioned that. Anyway, look, could you please stop touching my hair like that?

Me

I give really good scalp massages. Titan showed me.

Peppermint

Yes, I’m sure you…. oh… that is good… yes… that’s the spot…

Me

Ace – Digger Colony

Hi Ace, thanks for coming through. Glad you could make it.

Me

Sure, no problem. Hey, quick question, are you using solar energy to juice this place?

Ace

Uh, no. Just regular fossil fuels. Anyway, I brought you here to ask you-

Me

You should really switch to solar. Or hydro. I mean, this close to the surface, you could get a lot of clean juice flowing through this place.

Ace

I’ll be sure to tell the building manager that. Could I ask you some questions?

Me

Sure.

Ace

Good. Okay, so tell us a little about yourself.

Me

Me? Uh, there’s not much to tell. I’m a Digger on the niners of Wildebeest. Uh… I work at the Hole, you know, manual labour.

Ace

You don’t want to work for the Leider?

Me

What? No! I won’t be oppressed by his dictatorship. I’m my own man, and that’s how it’s going to stay.

Ace

Okay, then tell me what your greatest strength is?

Me

Ha! Ask my dad that and see what he says.

Ace

But I’m asking you, though.

Me

He’d probably say my stubbornness. Can you believe he calls me stubborn?

Ace

Okay, let’s just-

Me

I mean, it’s not like I want to spend my days mopping floors, but whats the alternative? Killing people?

Ace

I’m sure killing people-

Me

That’s what’s wrong with society today. People just talk about killing and raiding and surviving, like there’s nothing else to life. I mean, whatever happened to education? I’m sure the people in the Shining City don’t have to worry about that shit. They’re living there in their massive houses, with their hydroponic gardens and their solar power, and we’re stuck in the dirt. I mean why? It’s not like we have to live in the dirt? We could live on the surface now. Today! But do we? No. We live in the dirt like the-

Ace

I’m afraid we’re out of time, Ace. But thanks for coming through.

Me

And the slave trade? I mean, slavers were abolished centuries ago! But one solar flare, and we’re right back to where we-

Ace

* pushes Ace out the door *

Zircon – EU Dome

Zircon was unavailable for comment.

Me

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Ronel van Tonder

Ronel van Tonder is a science fiction author from South Africa. Having recently completed her dark, dystopian sci-fi trilogy, The Corrupted SUN Script, she's hard at work penning a new standalone sci-fi novel, The Seventh Glitch. When she's not writing, Ronel spends her free time slaying rendered baddies in the form of robots, gangsters and aliens - with any weapon that happens to be at hand.