So, a few people on my course asked exactly what my interviews with my characters were. At least, I think they were on my course… though one may have been wearing a white coat. Never mind. I’ll still answer the questions.
To get my character to start speaking with their own voice, I simply asked them questions. But they had to be personal. Something that they would give a unique answer to. One was- Name four locations you know well. Another- What do you worry about? And so on. But, instead of settling for one word answers, like ‘Home’ or ‘Work’, I made them describe these things. Twice. First time, as though they were talking to me and not worried about opening up. They told me the little details that they notice, like one character went on for a while about white tiles in the care home she is often in. Another how he resents having to wear a clean tie at work, as they insist it can’t have paint splatters on it. Then, after they’ve finished their ramble, I do the work. I write it as a little scene in their voice, which can be tricky since I’m writing in third person. But, even if I only use some of the information and none of the actual prose I’ve been spending far too much time on, it’s practice. And, if there’s one thing writers must do, it is practice.