Sometimes, even when you think you really have a handle on a character, there will come a point when they’ll refuse to give up a secret. As luck would have it, it’s usually at a pivotal point in your story. For me, it’s currently going like this:
(Some sections blanked out in order not to give too many details away)
Blink, blink. Blink. He mocks me through the flashing cursor and the blank screen.
I take a deep breath and start typing hoping that he’ll spill his guts.
He laughs and sits back with his lips sealed shut.
I pause and glance at him in my mind’s eye.
He tosses me the middle finger.
I want to slap him. To hit him upside the head with a cluebat. I need to know! This is important.
He doesn’t care.
Fine, I decide and lean away from the keyboard. Let’s play a little Q & A.
Me: “Why do you hate your brother so much.”
Him: He snorts and raises a blue-black brow in a pointed manner.
Me: “Right. That. Fine. How did you manage to call up the Big Bad.”
Him: He stares hard at me but says nothing.
Me: “Was it an accident?”
Him: Finally, he speaks: “Nothing I do is ever an accident.”
Me: “So you meant to do that?”
Him: His expression closes.
Me: “Do you, or don’t you, want your side of the story told?”
Him: “Does it really matter? You’ve already decided my fate.”
Me: “Holy crap!! I wrote you to be a f*****g man. Not a lily-livered wimp! At least have the balls to fight for your right to tell your side of it!”
Him: Growling. “I was trying to create another ****l!!”
Me: My turn to smirk. “There, was that so hard? Now. How did you find the ******* when they’d been lost for generations?”
Him: Realizing the gig is up and looking angrier than a snake with its tail in a twist. “I stole them.”
Me: Surprised. “From where?”
Him: “The *****.”
Him: Grinning. “Yeah. But it would have made a good story.”
Me: “Mmhm. But not this story. Where did you really get them?”
Him: Meandering over to a bottle of brandy. “That, my dear. Is for another day.”
Me: Narrowing my eyes at him. “Don’t think I won’t come back to that. So. You tried to create another ***** but something went wrong.”
Him: With a curt nod, he pours two fingers of brandy into a glass.
Me: “Where was this **** supposed to go?”
Him: “To ****.”
Me: I blink. “What’s ****?”
Him: Sipping on his brandy and taking his time about answering. (Finally, he answers but I can’t share that bit with you lovely people that are reading 😉 )
Me: Astounded. “So…That’s how *********?”
Him: More or less.
Me: “********that it didn’t work?”
Him: His jaw sets and his teeth grind together. “Apparently, ******.”
Me: “Ooooooh. Yeah. That might have helped. Instead you got *****.”
Him: Slugs back the rest of his brandy. “Yeah.”
And that ladies and gents, is how you beat the truth out of a recalcitrant character. Seriously. Next time you’re having difficulty trying to scratch up a character’s motivation, try sitting down and ‘interviewing them’. It’s a helluva lot of fun and more often than not, yields some very interesting results.