How to write an interview

The interview is not just an editorial tool. It is a document of investigation, of investigation. It can be very interesting and for several reasons. The interviewee maybe has a peculiarity, a story, a point of view that is not trivial and close to yours or he can have an alternative and completely distant perspective. Maybe he is a person who deserves more attention than he receives or represents a “key example” to be able to hold a speech (read the interview with the  Santone dello Svapo ). And then the dialogues are fascinating,  as long as you know how to write an interview . The comparison, however, can always be useful. True?

No. In fact, the interview is not a chat, but must be written with a precise communication technique.

  • Write an interview
    • The introduction
    • Do an interview: attack, development and closure
    • 10 commandments to know how to write an interview: infographics
    • Do you have to be faithful?
      • Related

Write an interview

Let’s clear up a point immediately. Unless conspicuous interventions are needed to contextualize the interviewee’s words, my preferred form is also the most common one for transcribing the interviews. I speak of the direct form. Questions and answers. The form of direct dialogue makes it possible to make the exchange of lines clear and increases the dynamism of the written text. And although I will mention how to conduct the interview, I am actually talking about how to write an interview, which is practically the process of refining the hundreds of words spent in the conversation.

The introduction

Before the actual interview, an introduction must be written .

An introduction, if well done, allows you to get answers to the now infamous wh-questions.

  • Who: who is the person you are going to interview. The presentations.
  • Why: because it was decided to interview him. What motivated us to chase this guy?
  • Where: where the interview takes place. The context immerses the reader and brings him next to us.
  • When: when the interview takes place. It can also be an excuse to mention something that has just happened or is about to happen, which is still relevant for our purposes.

The last point, in the case of remote interviews, leaves a little time, while it is always important to use a time reference.

  • What: a sort of summary of the interview or at least a hint to the main subject of the discussion

This point is increasingly used, even in “official” journalism  because it allows the reader to get an idea, in a few lines, of what will await him in reading.

Do an interview: attack, development and closure

Spacing the questions with a reflection, a note, a useful expression can be a good idea especially in the first part of the interview, the attack. We all know how the incipit is essential, as a title or a beginning (it also applies to books and films according to some) is capable of convincing or discouraging. Precisely for this reason, an idea may be to subvert the order of the questions.

Yes, if in fact in the real exchange of questions and answers with the interviewee (especially in the case of a stranger) the ideal would be to start in a soft way  testing the ground and without exaggerating, what is better than a beautiful unsettling question for open the transcribed interview instead? Capture the reader with humor, a provocation or a brilliant intuition.

Having said that, as for the rest of the questions there is to be more careful. Reading is pleasant only if there is a coherence in the whole, a basic fluidity. The questions must follow the previous ones with a criterion. In this regard, there are two ways , not necessarily divergent:

  1. focus– the theme around which the interview should turn. At the center of the piece, his heart. He steers the course like a captain without going “off track”. Never.
  2. random– the words and reflections of each answer provoke the next question. A perfect interview in my opinion follows the focus and favors the naturalness of the dialogue that comes out of every single question with its answer.

When an interview is flowing, we reach the end of the speech without almost realizing it. All the points have been touched and when the questions are about to end we can think of concluding with a blow of the tail, a spicy question, a teasing, a promise . Always in a short and concise manner without room for too many digressions, when it is at the end.

10 commandments to know how to write an interview: infographics

In addition to what I have already mentioned, there are numerous tricks that it would be better to keep in mind when interviewing your interlocutor.

Take note of this list of commandments if you want to know how to write an interview without falling into beginner mistakes.

  1. Do not approve the interviewee’s style to yours.
  2. Don’t get guided. You are the one who leads.
  3. Don’t censor. The interview is an opportunity for expression.
  4. Do not post ratings later.
  5. Don’t lose sight of the thread of the speech.
  6. Don’t put the conversation to sleep.
  7. Don’t be pressing, you could inhibit the interviewee.
  8. Do not rush.
  9. Don’t underestimate who answers your questions.
  10. Don’t make the tone of your words disappear.

Do you have to be faithful?

The interview is the protagonist of the post, of the article. It’s all the juice, and it must be well seasoned.

It is not clear to many people, but being faithful does not mean also reporting cough or misspellings. Loyalty lies in accurately reporting the interviewee’s communicative intentions. The interview is often reconstructed a posteriori on the basis of the words of people who are very rarely experts in communication. Remember it. For example, before I mentioned the freedom to be able to subvert the order of questions. It sounds like a no-brainer and yet it can change the perception of your reader.

designed by Asierromero –

The absence of expert communication skills requires mediation by the interviewer. Your presence. You must demonstrate your skill already in the construction of the interview, which must be developed with the aim of making the knowledge of the recipient of the questions accessible to the reader. You have to put the interviewee in a position to say what is fundamental that he says (and we don’t talk about conditioned opinions, obviously). You need to extract the essence of your interviewee only with your questions. It is you who, by choosing how to write an interview, shape and direct your interlocutor’s reflections towards the topics you want to be addressed.

Finally, do not forget that the fact of submitting the interview to a “character” does not make you a subordinate. The visibility that comes out of the interview is good for you and also for your interviewee who has decided to give you his time, aware of having a window available. The dynamics of exchange is fundamental, on a human and literal level. In short, isn’t it a walk?

I just got the ok from an old cartoonist friend, my next blog interview will be to Mario Natangelo. I dare not imagine what might come out … also because when asked he replied: ” Abbello, I do everything you tell me when you want as you want


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