Character Bait


Letting Characters Emerge! My potential character took the bait! He is revealing himself slowly.

As I was thinking of ideas for picture books, an idea came up: what if the family was structured in a distinctive way?

At 2 a.m. this morning, the character woke me up and started dictating a scene about dealing with her family. I wrote furiously for fifteen minutes, then went back to sleep. The bit of story even looked pretty good when I got up at 7 am.

Creating a character this time is interesting: I’m not in a rush, because I know I won’t start this new story until June. So, I’m thinking of things that could be a part of a character’s life, then ignoring it for a while and at the oddest moments, the story starts flowing. I still haven’t got the right voice for this character, but slowly, slowly, she’s starting to emerge.

Character description is much more than just how the character looks! It’s about how they act, their inner life. Think hard about describing just the outer character; instead, shoot for details that reveal character’s emotions, thoughts or ways of thinking.

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