"There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island." - Walt Disney

Monday, April 11, 2011

Interview Exercise

Many writers/Journalists have trouble coming up with a list of questions for their interview. They struggle to find basic questions pertinent to their topic. Some keep an arsenal of standard questions they can use to help break the ice, but what if you can’t decide what to ask? What if you are writing a scene with a journalist and have no idea about interviews? What if inspiration for the interview has evaded you completely?
Below is a writing exercise to get you in the right frame of mind for that interview or scene.

You've accidentally dialed the wrong phone number, but the person who answers sounds familiar. Immediately he/she recognizes you, but because you made the call you're too embarrassed to ask who it is. Using only dialogue, ask questions (interview) to figure out who you are talking too.

Remember to have fun with it, but keep in mind open-ended questions (has many possible responses) will get you more information than closed-ended (can be answered with a simple yes or no).
Good luck and Happy Writing!

25 comments:

Bish Denham said...

Good one!

Karen Walker said...

I used to do interviews all the time and got better as time went on. Good advice here. Thanks.
Karen

Amy Wood said...

Great exercise! I will definitely use it. Thanks!

K.C. Woolf said...

Oh, fun exercise, thanks :-)

Jingle said...

beautiful insights on interview.

i.ikeda said...

Ooh, what a fun exercise! I'll be trying it out even if I'm neither a writer nor a journalist.

Thank you for your comment on my blog (and follow). Cheers!

Julia Smith said...

Irresistably fun.

MJ said...

Sounds like a fun exercise, thanks for posting!

-MJ fellow A to Z blogger

Sarah Allan said...

That's a great exercise! I never thought of prepping for an interview like that before. Then again, I hope to have an opportunity to HAVE one to prep for at some point as well. :-)

the writing pad said...

Thanks for the fun exercise - will definitely do it.
All best
Karla

Julie said...

Hi Sylvia! Stopping by on the A-Z Challenge and I love your blog. What a fun exercise, interviewing is a skill I really need to work on, so this is great for me. Thanks for sharing it.

Great to meet you! :)

Lisa said...

Sylvia - I love your post. I thought it was only me that made phone calls and by the time the person answers I forget who I called. LOL I am always hopeful that they will answer and say this is so-and-so. If not I usually go with the a question like "so, how is the family?" in hopes that they will say a name and that will help. If not, honesty is the next best thing.

Thanks so much for stopping by my blog. I look forward to following you.

Lisa
InspiredbyLisa

sandy axelrod said...

Boy, it's nice to know I'm not the only one who has done this! Great post. Thank you for your comments about my puppy Hershi. He's cute and a real attention whore! And thanks for becoming a follower.

Mercy a.k.a Rogue said...

This is very helpful, I was hoping to interview a certain author on my blog, this will hell heaps. Thankyou

Mercy a.k.a Rogue said...

ugh I really gotta edit before I send. **help**

GigglesandGuns said...

Wonderful exercise.

Gabriela Lessa said...

That's a fantastic exercise! And it's so true. Finding the right questions is an art!

Home In The Hollow said...

I imagine I would use phrases such as: Describe a time when...; Tell me about what you did. That would give me a true picture of who they really are. Thanks for stopping by the Hollow...:)JP

Charlene A. Wilson said...

Great idea. :D And I don't know how many times I've done just that! Lol. Great post.

Lisa Ricard Claro said...

What a fun exercise! It could pass the time during a long car trip, too...

taochild said...

Glad you visited me, prompting me to visit you! I suspect you could teach me a thing or three :)

AllMyPosts said...

Wow!! A fun exercise!!!

Don't forget to visit my blog for my answer!! I am gonna start now and make it as fun as possible!!!


with warm regards
CatchyTips For Writers

Murugi Njehia said...

This is great.Thanks for sharing and visiting my blog.

Lisa Ricard Claro said...

Hello again, Sylvia. When you have a moment please pop over to my blog. There is an award there waiting for you. :)

Kari Marie said...

Great exercise! Thanks for sharing.