Let the Interview Spark Ideas

interview paperI’ve been doing interviews for years. There’s one thing I’ve discovered: I almost always discover a nugget that I never thought of before. I begin the interview with my list of questions but I usually hear something from the interviewee that takes me down another trail.

Be Sure to Listen

It’s easy to keep your focus on the next question you want to ask. You know where you want to go with your article and you want to make sure you get all the questions in. However, your interviewee may offer something that needs further investigation.

Listen to your interviewee. Interact with them, especially if you’re interviewing them over the phone. Ask questions to get them to clarify something. Ask questions to pursue a new direction. Ask questions to unearth treasures.

You may be surprised. The interview may take the focus of your article into a completely different topic. Or, you may discover something during the interview that sparks an idea for another article.

Stay alert and listen. You never know what you’ll hear.

When the Interviewee Doesn’t Say Anything

What happens when your interviewee doesn’t give a good interview? They mutter one-word answers or they don’t answer the questions. What do you do then?

It’s time to get creative. You need to think of new ways to ask the question. You approach the topic from every direction and even ask unconventional questions. In the process, you may discover writing ideas to pursue at a later time.

This isn’t ideal because you’re thinking on the fly. You’re scrambling for answers. But, ideas are there. Write down random thoughts as you try to create new questions. Go back later to see if you can glean a new writing idea from your notes.

Writers need to do interviews all the time. Think of this important aspect of writing as another field to glean writing ideas.

© Deborah Christensen


Posted on September 23, 2013, in fiction, inspiration, interview, nonfiction, poetry, writer's life, writing, writing ideas and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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